Skip to main content

Full text of "Self-support, illustrated in the history of the Bassein Karen mission from 1840 to 1880"

See other formats


in Mi M • 







I- 
- 

I 
I 

1 
i 




THE LIBRARY 

OF 

THE UNIVERSITY 

OF CALIFORNIA 

LOS ANGELES 



I 

1 

4 




u 






JEt. 



37- 



SELF-SUPPORT, 



ILLUSTRATED IX THE 



HISTORY OF THE BASSEIN KAREN MISSION 



FROM 



1840 TO 1880. 



BY 

C. II. CARPENTER. 

WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY ALVAH HOVEY, D.D., LL.D. 



"In majorem DEI Gloriam." 



BOSTON : 

RAND, AVERY, AND COMPANY. 

&ty tfranklin ^rcss. 

1883. 



Copyright, 1883, 
By C. II. CARPENTER. 



PROFITS OF PUBLICATION DEVOTED TO TIIE BASSEIN N. AND I. INSTITUTE. 






bv 



TO 

THE PRECIOUS MEMORY OF 

THE FATHERS OF MODERN MISSIONS, 

INTO WHOSE LABORS WE HAVE ENTERED, 

AND TO THOSE LABORERS IN OTHER FIELDS 

WHO PATIENTLY AND HOPEFULLY WORK ON IN THE 

FACE OF HARDNESS WHICH WE OF THE KAREN MISSION HAVE 

NEVER KNOWN, AND TO TnOSE HIGH-BORN SOULS WHO 

DARE TO LEAVE AN EASY PATH FOR A ROUGH ONE, 

IN SIMPLE LOYALTY TO A LAW OF DEVELOPMENT 

IN CHRIST'S KINGDOM, (IS IT UNWRITTEN?) 

THIS VOLUME IS INSCRIBED, 

WITH REVERENCE AND SYMPATHY, 

BY THE AUTHOR. 



ItfTRODTJCTIOK 



Three questions, to which the supporters of foreign missions 
at home and abroad will readily give their earnest consideration, 
are partly, if not fully, answered by this volume. First, Does 
the Christian religion, as understood and embraced in these 
latter days, ever kindle a deep and holy enthusiasm in the souls 
of men, so that, in times of distress, they prove to be heroes 
and martyrs? Second, Does it produce in them the impulses 
of a noble manhood, that cares little for self, and much for 
others, so that, in times of peace, they are willing to give lib- 
erally, out of their deep poverty, for the support of Christian 
institutions among themselves, and for the conversion of men 
who are still in darkness? Third, Does the method of help 
adopted by their foreign teachers always cultivate as effectu- 
ally as possible this noble and strenuous type of Christian 
manhood, so that converts from heathenism are rapidly pre- 
pared for self-support, and even for aggressive work, in the 
regions beyond? 

To the first question, several chapters of this history furnish 
a decisive answer ; not, indeed, the only decisive answer, but 
one of the most thrilling and convincing. For, while it would 
be easy to select from the list of Protestant missionaries belong- 
ing to the present century many names that might be conQ- 



vi INTRODUCTION. 

dently added to the roll of believing "witnesses" in the 
eleventh chapter of Hebrews, they would be names of excep- 
tional men, who had inherited force of character with their 
blood, and had been trained to reverence for God and his truth 
under the best Christian influences. But the Karen martyrs of 
Bassein were members of a broken and timid race, were born 
of parents, who, through fear of their oppressors, had been all 
their lifetime subject to bondage, and were themselves recent 
converts to the Christian religion, having little knowledge of 
divine truth, and brief experience of the Saviour's grace. Yet 
that grace was sufficient for them ; and, sustained by it, they 
passed with extraordinary firmness through the terrific ordeal 
of religious persecution waged by a relentless people. The 
story of their fortitude under suffering, and their victory over 
death, is here told in sympathetic language, but without exag- 
geration ; and every Christian who reads it will bless God for 
the power of faith in these humble disciples during their pro- 
longed and fiery trial, and will feel his heart bounding with joy 
when he comes to the record of their deliverance from persecu- 
tion, and of their continued progress in the good way under 
the banner of peace. Such a narrative refreshes our confidence 
in Christian faith as still and always the victory that over- 
cometh the world. By virtue of it, these Karens, who were 
for a time literally " destitute, afflicted, tormented," " wrought 
righteousness, obtained promises, escaped the edge of the 
sword, out of weakness were made strong, waxed valiant in 
fight, turned to flight the armies of the aliens." In other 
mission-fields similar illustrations of the power of Christ to 
keep and strengthen "his own" have been given in these 
latter days, but none more remarkable or encouraging than 
these. 



INTRODUCTION. Vll 

To the second question, also, many chapters of this history 
furnish a satisfactory answer ; for they prove beyond reason- 
able doubt, that the Christian religion as understood and re- 
ceived by the Karens of Bassein has produced in them a new 
and true life, — a type of manhood that cares little for self, and 
much for the common weal ; a spirit that is subject to the law 
of love, and prompt to manifest itself in deeds of benevolence. 
By united effort, continued through a long period, they have 
given "out of their deep poverty " large sums for the support 
of Christian preachers and teachers, for the building of chapels 
and schoolhouses, and for the evangelization of other tribes in 
Burma. Their career verifies in a signal manner the truth of 
Christ's saying, " It is more blessed to give than to receive." 
If, under persecution, they showed how "sublime a thing it is 
to suffer and be strong," they have also, when living unmolested 
and without fear, shown how wise and beautiful a thing it is to 
bear one another's burden, and so fulfil the law of Christ. 

But it is not our purpose to represent the Bassein Christians 
as faultless. They themselves would be the first to condemn 
such a representation. None of their missionaries or pastors 
would approve it, The instructive reports of Mr. Abbott and 
Mr. Beecher show that they saw many faults in the life of these 
disciples. And the history of Mr. Carpenter, composed chiefly 
of the letters and reports of these two missionaries, is no 
studied eulogy of the Bassein churches. From it we learn not 
only that many of their early pastors were deficient in Christian 
knowledge, but also that a few of them had grave defects of 
character, and that some in later times have lacked steadfast- 
ness or humility. Moreover, it is evident that the standard of 
discipline in certain churches has sometimes been lower than the 
word of God requires. But, iu spite of these abatements, it 



viii INTRODUCTION. 

remains true that the Karen disciples of Bassein have, on the 
whole, borne themselves as men, being " steadfast, immovable, 
always abounding in the work of the Lord." 

To the third, a more delicate and practical question than 
either of the preceding, many chapters of this history con- 
tribute materials for an answer, if they do not rather, for all 
ordinary cases, absolutely decide what that answer must be. 
Of this we are confident : the facts here recited will convince 
every unbiassed reader of the essential wisdom of the course 
pursued by the leading missionaries to the Sgau Karens of the 
Bassein field. "By their fruits ye shall know them;' 1 and 
the fruits of this field bear witness, not only to the grace of 
God, but also to the excellent method of spiritual culture early 
adopted, and faithfully continued, by those in charge of it. The 
method thus commended is that of laying upon the native dis- 
ciples the support of Christian worship and education among 
themselves, with little or no help from the mission treasury. 
" Self-help," as the duty of all Christian converts, and the best 
means of producing in them a worthy character, is the lesson 
of this remarkable story. 

"This book is a history, but it is also an argument. It is, 
however, almost wholly an argument made by the facts them- 
selves. Mr. Carpenter lets documents and events tell their own 
story in the main, with just enough of narrative to connect 
thein, and of comment to make them intelligible. In the con- 
cluding chapters he adds a strong and convincing plea, based 
on the history he has recited, in favor of the self-supporting 
policy in all our missions." These sentences, from the pen of 
Dr. Bright, editor of "The Examiner," describe with perfect 
fairness the character and aim of this volume. "We are not 
sanguine enough to expect that the policy here advocated will 



JNTRODUCTJOX. ix 

be approved by all the missionaries in the foreign field, or even 
by all the friends of missions at home ; but we believe it to be 
thoroughly wise, and certain to prevail in the end, and we expect 
that this history will draw to it far closer attention than it has 
yet received. 

Mr. Carpenter's history will be read by not a few persons 
whose memory of mission-work does not go back to the first 
half of the period which it reviews ; and to them we cannot 
offer a more useful paragraph than the following, from a notice 
of " Self-Support in Bassein " by Dr. Bright : lt This is a book 
of thrilling interest and of great value. The first twenty years 
covered by it constitute one of the most important periods in 
the history of our Asiatic missions, — years in which there were 
heart-burning differences between the missionaries and the offi- 
cers of the Missionary Union, as well as between the mission- 
aries themselves, — years in which the very existence of the 
missions seemed at times to be threatened, and yet years in 
which some of the brightest victories were gained that have 
been known in missionary annals. To tell this story interest- 
ingly, faithfully, justly, without uncovering the smouldering 
embers of old controversies ; to give an account of all that it 
is necessary for the present generation of Baptists to know, 
and leave in their grave things that had better not be brought 
to light, — this was no easy task. Mr. Carpenter has achieved 
it with an unfailing tact, and with a sweet and charitable 
Christian spirit." 

ALVAII IIOVF.Y. 
Newton Centre, Feb. 8, 1884. 



PREFACE. 



" I sometimes think there is not wisdom enough in the whole Baptist 
denomination of America to manage their foreign missions one day, and, 
if the Head of the Church does not do it, I do not know who will." — Rev. 
Dr. J. G. "Warren, Corresponding Secretary, Nov. 11, 18G8. 

If this sketch fails to show the hand of Christ guiding his 
servants, sustaining them in weakness, overruling their mistakes, 
and defending them from their foes, it will miserably fail of 
its true end. Surely no Christian reader will fail to see that 
omnipotent and sovereign power was necessary to choose out 
one of the smallest and most degraded of peoples, and to make 
of them so shortly a fruitful branch of his own redeemed 
people. By divine grace alone a devil-worshipper may become 
an heir of heaven. 

Another end ought to be furthered by the philosophy which 
underlies this piece of history. Christian missions conducted 
on opposite principles have existed side by side in various 
lands for nearly fifty years. The one principle, followed still 
in the great majority of missions, is that of depending princi- 
pally upon pecuniary support drawn from Christian countries : 
the other — followed by the Moravian missions, by Bassein and 
a few others — is that of self-help from the outset, with an early 
arrival at local support for all native preachers aud all primary 

education whatsoever. It would seem that time enough has 

xi 



XU rilEFACE. 

elapsed for the fruit of these two systems to appear, — enough 
time for results and conclusions, for lessons so plain and 
emphatic that the blindest might learn, and that thus the 
uniformity of management so sorely needed might be secured. 
In the interests of important truth we might without arrogance, 
perhaps, challenge comparison between the results, present and 
prospective, of the Bassein Karen mission and those of any 
mission conducted on the opposite principle. But, alas for 
our weak human nature ! comparisons are odious. And yet 
bare argument without practical illustration is of little avail. 
Abuses there are in all missions, home as well as foreign, — 
abuses common to all charities, unless the latest patented 
"wood-yard" charity be an exception. They come chiefly 
from the tendency of the weak everywhere to throw them- 
selves full length upon the strong, to the encumbrance of the 
latter and to their own perpetual and self-perpetuating weak- 
ness. The tendency has been oftener pointed out than suc- 
cessfully grappled with. 

Meanwhile, the wasteful, debilitating evil spreads and grows, 
and it is becoming more and more a serious question how the 
armies that God is raising up for himself, through our preach- 
ing in foreign lands, are to be transformed, out of the tattered 
regimentals of Falstaff 's hundred and fifty, into the full uni- 
form of Christ, — from weak-kneed dependence, into the steady 
discipline, the organization, the patient service, the self-sacri- 
fice and self-respect which should mark all the battalions of 
King Jesus. If the way to this transformation has not been 
rediscovered in Bassein, we know not where to look for it out- 
side of the New Testament ; and, if the transformation itself be 
not speedily accomplished throughout our missions, we may too 
soon find ourselves swamped by a rapid but superficial success. 



PREFACE. Xlll 

It is high time, we believe, for the dead to speak, and for the 
living, both in America and Burma, to give ear. The powerful 
letters aud appeals of E. L. Abbott have waited thirty-five 
long years to gain the public attention. The good hand of 
our God upon his associate Beecher and their successors has 
demonstrated the truth of his positions and the wisdom of his 
counsel. It is for the Christians of America to say whether 
the men whom our fathers sent forth to lay down their lives for 
the establishment of Christ's kingdom in Burma, on Christ's 
own principles, shall now have an attentive hearing or not. 
" Tliy God hath commanded thy strength: strengthen, God, 
that which thou hast wrought for us." 

The work of preparing this book for the press has been one of 
compilation, rather than of authorship. As far as practicable, 
the workmen have been allowed to speak for themselves. Not 
a little valuable information has been secured from the earliest 
Bassein converts, who are fast passing away. Their posterity, 
perhaps, will be more grateful than readers in Christian lands 
for the rather minute record of the beginning of their Christian 
history. Their history prior to the advent of the missionaries 
is lost beyond retrieval in unlettered, pagan night. 

Acknowledgments are due to Rev. Dr. J. N. Murdock, Cor- 
responding Secretary of the A. B. M. Union, for free access to 
the correspondence of the Sandoway and Bassein missions ; 
also to the same, to Rev. Dr. Alvah Hovey, late Chairman of 
the Executive Committee of the Union, to Rev. Dr. J. G. 
Warren, late Corresponding Secretary, and to Rev. O. W. Gates 
especially, for valuable advice following a patient perusal of 
the manuscript. 

Newton Centre, Mass., Nov. 1. 1883. 



CONTENTS. 



Page. 

Dedication iii. 

Preface v. 

CHAPTER I. 

1835-1837. 

Divisions of British Burma. — Area and Population of Bassein. — Its 
Fertility. — Town of Bassein. — Simons's Tour. — Bread on the 
Waters. — Mr. and Mrs. Ingalls call at Bassein. — Howard's Visit. 

— Abbott's Arrival. — He labors in Rangoon. — Visitors from Bas- 
sein. — Cruel Oppression. — Journey to Bassein. — Efficacy of Bur- 
man Tracts. — Baptisms in Pantanau. — Family Altars set up. — 
Kyootoo. — Novel Christmas Service. — Baptisms on the "Way 
Home. — Reflections 1 

CHAPTER II. 

1838, 1839. 

A Chapter of Persecutions. — Visit to Raytho. — Assistants sent to 
Bassein. — Shway Weing's Letter. — Teaching under Difficulties. 

— The "Young Chief" baptized. — Imprisoned with Three Com- 
panions. — The Pagoda-Slaves released. — Maukoh cruelly beaten. 

— Tender Mercies of a Burman Tyrant. — A Temporary Retreat. 

— Earliest Preachers. — Shway Bau's Description of Primitive 
"Worship and Errors of the Disciples. — Burman Insolence in- 
creased by English Forbearance. — The Viceroy's Invitation. — 
State of the Work. — The Viceroy's Fall. — "A Change of Base" 
contemplated 16 

CHAPTER III. 
1840, 1841. 

Three Periods in this History. — An Asylum under the British Flag. 

— Mau Yay of Raytho. — Reasons for Removal. — Sandoway. — 

xv ' 



xvi CONTENTS. 

Page. 
Messengers to the Unbaptized Disciples in Bassein. — Stupidity of 
Heathen Karens. — Arrivals from Bassein. — School begun. — Bap- 
tisms. — Bleb Po. — Begging for Books. —The Mission-House a 
Hospital. — The "Young Chief" arrives. — A Jungle School.— 
Kincaid's Testimony. — " Self-support " to be the Motto of the 
Bassein Mission. — Religious Liberty.— The Death-Roil. — School 
broken up. — Death of Ko Thahbyu. — Trip down the Coast.— 
Fines and Prisons. — Preaching and Baptizing. — A Hard Test. — 
Midnight Baptisms. — A Night in the Deep. — Forced Marching. 

— Good News from the Rangoon Christians. — Review. — Course 
of Study for Assistants. —Cramped for Funds. — In Pursuit of 
Health 35 

CHAPTER IV. 

1812, 1843. 

Voyage down the Coast. — " A Palace for the Karen King." — Exam- 
ining Candidates.— "In Labors more Abundant." — Sinmah. — 
Buffalo. — Lambs of the Flock. — Another Church formed. — Es- 
cape from a Wild Elephant. —Request for Bleh Po's Ordination. 

— Pwos coming into the Kingdom. — Obituary of Bleh Po. — As 
to the Ordination of a Native Ministry. — English Kindness. — 
Novel Pattern of Domestic Life. — Continued Persecutions.— 
Cholera. — A Fugitive Prince. — Ordination of Myat Kyau and 
Tway Po. — Eighty baptized at Baumee. — The Sick and Lonely 
Family at Gwa. — " Happy Deaths." — Sir A. P. Phayre. —Effects 
of Persecution. — Emigrants from Bassein. —A Missionary's Anxi- 
eties. — Heavy Tidings. — List of Assistants 59 

CHAPTER V. 

1814-1847. 
Karen Fear. — Magezzin, Desolation and Blessing. — Ong Khyoung, 
Funeral-Sermon for a Hundred and Twenty Souls. —Assistants 
and "Readers." — The Sorrow of Judas. — Pastor Tway Po.— 
Permanent Villages. — A " Widow indeed." — Important Mission 
of Myal Kyau. — Second Tour. — News from Myat Kyau. —Death 
of Comstock. — School. — Recommendation of the Triennial Con- 
vention. —Illness and Death of Mrs. Abbott. — Mr. Abbott's 
Enforced Departure. — Voyage Home. — Acceptable Labors. — 
Return to Burma delayed. — Isolation of the Karen Preachers and 
Churches. — Progress of the Work. — Roman-Catholic Proselytism. 

— Statistics from Mr. Ingalls 86 

CHAPTER VI. 

1848, 1849. 
Mr. Abbott returns to Arakan. — Mr. Beecher joins the Mission. — 

— Well-laid Foundations. — Meeting at Ong Khyoung. — Encour- 




ARAKAN 

Scale of Miles 



B(Tj QtCgL'3 Stylo $PT3.pfry 



l.on. Kast fromM Greenwich. 



CONTENTS. xvu 

Page. 
aging Outlook. — Open Door in Henthada — Jesuits abroad.— 
Repair of Buildings. — Appeal for Help iu Education and a Pwo 
Missionary. — Pay of Assistants. — Mr. Abbott visits Maulrnain. 
— Mrs. Binney describes bis Oratory. — Abbott's First Attempt to 
enter Bassein. — Annual Meeting. — A Stand for Self-Support. — 
Myah Au. — Men of Power needed. — Abbott on "Unnecessary 
Exposure." — Second Attempt to settle in Bassein. — Arrival of 
the Van Meters 106 

CHAPTER VII. 
A Cbapter too Hard for tbe Average Reader. — An Irrepressible Con- 
flict, "Self-Support" vs. "Specific Donations." — " The Maul- 
main System." — A Tradition. — Fallacious Argument from Econ- 
omy. — Happy Effect of Abbott's Visit in Maulrnain. — Beecber on 
the Five Thousand Dollar Fund. — Abbott on tbe Same. — Corre- 
spondence with Messrs. Mason and Bright 131 

CHAPTER VIII. 

1850. 

Abbott leads in " Self-Support," in the Ordination of a Native Minis- 
try, and in the Formation of a Native Missionary Society. — Let- 
ter from Van Meter. — School for Preachers at Ong Khyoung. — 
Letter from Beecber. — Abbott's Account of the School and An- 
nual Meeting. — Need of Sunday Schools. — Pwo Assistants. — 
Sandoway Mission organized. — Letter from Abbott to Secretary 
Bright 147 

CHAPTER IX. 

1851. 
Abbott's Last Annual Meeting. — Ordinations. — Formation of tbe 
Bassein Home Mission Society. — Duty of Combined Effort. — Ab- 
bott goes to Maulrnain and Tavoy. — Beecher's Account of bis 
Preachers' Class and Tour. — Tribute to Wah Dee. — Rev. Tway 
Po. — Progress of the Pwo Mission. — Shway Bo. — Mrs. Abbott's 
Labors for the Burmans. — Confusion of Plans 161 

CHAPTER X. 

1S52. 
Dr. Kincaid on the Bassein Karens. — Incident from Dr. Stevens. — 
The Approach of War. — Meeting at Theh Rau. — Sudden Dismis- 
sal. — In Perils of Waters. — Beecher's Second Tour. — Rangoon 
and Other Towns taken. — Abbott on the Situation. — He goes 
with Van Meter to Bassein. — First Impressions of the New Sta- 
tion. — Kindness of English Officers. — Boodbist Kijuungs con- 
verted to Christian Uses. — Abbott as to the State of the Churches. 



XVI 11 CONTENTS. 

Page. 
— Prospects of the Pvvo Mission. — Shway Weing. — Roman-Cath- 
olic Visitors. — Last "Words well remembered. — Abbott's Final 
Departure 184 

CHAPTER XI. 

1853. 

Annexation of Pegu. — Predatory Warfare. — The Karen takes bis 
Turn. — Mr. Van Meter's Journal of Warlike Events. — Mr. Beech- 
er's Arrival. — Po K way's Triumphal Entry. — Christians tor- 
tured. — Crucifixion of Thah Gay. — Arrival of the Families of 
the Mission. — First Annual Meeting of the Association in Bas- 
sein. — Statistics. — Progress of the Pwo Work. — Karen Magis- 
trates. — Burman Inquirers. — Formation of the Ministerial Con- 
ference. — Foreign Missions begun. — Mr. Abbott's Obituary of 
TwayPo 209 

CHAPTER XII. 
1854. 

Fresh Burman Outbreaks. — Nga So's Certificate. — " Maulay." — Pro- 
posed Removal of the Station. — Association at Kohsoo. — Chris- 
tians turn Freebooters. — Academies for Bassein. — Ministers' 
Meeting at Mobgoo. — Tway Gyau ordained. — Missionaries sent 
to Prouie. - Mr. Van Meter's Tours. — Meeting at Naupeheh. — 
Tohlo ordained. — The New Era: the Child walks alone. — Zeal 
for Education. — A Secretary's Comments. — Death of Mr. Abbott 
and Mrs. Beecher 231 

CHAPTER XIII. 
1855, 1856. 
Contentions between Brethren. — An Unrecognized " Tiers Etat." — 
Fruit of the Deputation. — A Grand Mistake. — Arrival of Mr. 
Douglass. — Association at Kwengyah. — Mr. Beecher returns to 
America. — Quarterly Meeting at Kaunee. — Increase of Mission- 
aries, and Growth of Academies. — Meeting at Meethwaydibe. — 
Association for 1856. — A Weighty Treasury. — State of the Church- 
es.— Conflagration at Bassein. — Kind Help of the Karens. —Or- 
dinations. — Major Phayre's Renewed Help. —Mr. Douglass re- 
ports the Meeting at Lehkoo. — Glimpses of Bassein Missionaries 
abroad 248 

CHAPTER XIV. 

1S57. 
Results of overnursing Native Christians. —Dr. Wade's Plan for the 
Karen Theological Seminary. — Why it failed. — Annual Meeting 
at Yaygyau. — Growth of the Academies. — Statistics. — Meetings 



CONTENTS. x ix 

Page. 
at Poclau and Taukoo. — Arrival of Mr. and Mrs. Beecher. — The 
Van Meters return to the United States. — Journal of Mr. Thom- 
as's Tour among the Bassein Churches. —Association at Kyootah. 

— Mau Yay's Address. — Decisive Letter of the Bassein Pastors to 

the American Baptist Missionary Union 2G4 

CHAPTER XV. 

1858-1862. 

Strength of Mr. Beecher's Position. — Mrs. Beecher's Choice of a Com- 
pound. — Humble Beginnings. — Generosity of the Government. 

— Prospectus of the Bassein Sgau Karen Normal and Industrial 
Institute. — First Buildings. — First Debt disposed of. — First Mis- 
sion to Upper Burma. — Thahyahgon. — Fruit of Labor in Prome. 

— Chinese Converts. — Associations at Kaukau Pgah and at M'- 
gayl'hah. — Toowah, Sahpo, and Sahnay 288 

CHAPTER XVI. 

1S63-186G. 

Education in Burma for the Natives of Burma. — Ordinations. — For- 
mation of the Pwo Association. — A Fortunate Stroke of Light- 
ning. — The Institute Church. — First Mission to Zimmay. — Mr. 
Beecher attends the Toungoo Council. — Burman Visitors at a 
Karen Association. — New Pwo Compound. — Appreciation of Bas- 
sein Laborers abroad. — Formation of the Burma Baptist Mission- 
ary Convention. — Arrival of Mr. Scott. — Break-down of Mr. 
Beecher. — Voyage to England, and Death. — His Character and 
Labors 307 

CHAPTER XVII. 

18G7. 

Why Missionaries should not look to Native Christians for Support. 

— Letter of the Karen Pastors to the American Baptist Missionary 
Union. — Mr. Thomas removes to Bassein. — Journals and Letters. 

— Is Unscriptural Authority exercised by the Missionaries ? — Pros- 
tration of Mr. Thomas. —The Return Voyage.— His Death . . 323 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

1SG8-1874. 

Sale of the Free Mission Property to the American Baptist Missionary 
Union. — Mr. Douglass in Charge. — Convention in Bassein. — 
First Telegram from America. — Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter remove 
to Bassein. — Discipline of Unworthy Pastors. — A Home Mission 
Society not. to be Eleemosynary. — Prevailing Ignorance. — Edu- 
cational Plans. — New Buildings to be paid for by the Karens. — 
Correspondence with Dr. Binney. — The Tithe-System adopted by 



XX CONTENTS. 

Page. 

the Pastors. — Ordinations. —Return of the Carpenters to the 
United States. — Arrival of Mr. Hopkinson. — Progress of the Pwo 
Department. — Sickness and Death of Mr. and Mrs. Van Meter. — 
Labors and Death of Mr. Goodell. — Mortality in the Bassein Mis- 
sion, and Reasons assigned 339 

CHAPTER XIX. 

1875-1880. 

Proposal to remove the Karen College to Bassein. — Reasons for the 
Proposed Change. — Twenty Thousand Rupees pledged for a New 
School-Building.— Erection of the Girls' Schoolhouse. — Ground 
broken for the New Hall.— Oppression resisted. — Beginning of 
the Kakhyen Mission. — Happy Deliverance from Debt. — Ko 
Thahbyu Jubilee and Dedication. — Description of the Memorial 
Hall. — Generous Offer to Rev. D. A. W. Smith. — Abbott Endow- 
ment begun. — Arrival of Mr. Nichols. — Summing up. —Table. 
— Condition in Life of the Bassein Karens. —Methods. — In- 
stances of Self-Sacrifice 362 

CHAPTER XX. 

1881-1887. 

Bassein Principles. — On the Attainment of True Independence. — 
Competent Native Leaders wanting. — General Need of these 
Lessons. — The Missionary Union, how cramped. — The Success 
in Bassein should be made Complete. — Need of a Bible School in 
Bassein. — Course of Study for Pastors. — Bassein Education So- 
ciety.— Sustentation Fund. — Revival Meetings. — "What should 
be accomplished before Christmas, 1887. — Conclusion . . . 389 

Appendix A. — Table showing the Growth of the Bassein Churches . 411 

Appendix B. — Table. — Contributions of the Churches . . . 412 

Appendix C — Testimonials to the Bassein Karen Institute . . 415 

Index 423 



ILLUSTRATIONS. 



Portrait of Rev. E. L. Abbott 

Map of Abakan 

Map of British Burma 

Boat-Travel in Burma 

Portrait of Rev. J. S. Beecher 

Facsimile of Mr. Abbott's Handwriting 
Portrait of Pastor Mau Yay of Ktootoo 
Graduates of tiie Bassein Karen Girls' School 
Facsimile of Mr. Beecher's Handwriting 
Mission-House built by Mr. Beecher, 1S5S . 
Girls' Schoolhouse, Bassein, built 1875 . 
Ko Thahbyu Memorial Hall, dedicated May 16, 1878 . 
Bassein Karen Missionaries to the Kakhyens 



PAGE. 

Frontispiece. 
xvi 
xvii 

. To face 10 
10G 
14.°, 
185 
209 
242 
292 
362 
374 
403 



xxi 



BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 



CHAPTER I. 

1835-1837. 



"If I had to choose for my dearest friend on earth a position where 
there is afforded a full field for the exercise of a man's powers and 
influence, and where the truest happiness may he secured, I should say 
to him, ' If you love Jesus Christ, [aud can accomplish it], become a mis- 
sionary.' " — Anonymous. 

Although blistered now with the heat of a tropical sun, and 
now drenched in tropical rain and steam, British Burma is a 
fair and fruitful land. The most prosperous of the British 
provinces in India already, the agricultural possibilities of its 
future are grand indeed. Under the fostering care of a Chris- 
tian government, the population is increasing at the rate of 
nearly fifty per cent each decade ; while the foreign trade, 
stimulated by British capital, is increasing in a still more rapid 
ratio. 

Into the history of this land we cannot enter fully. Suffice 
it to say, that British Burma comprises within its present bounds 
three divisions, — Arakan, Pegu, and Tenasserim. At the 
close of the first Burmese war, in 1824, the first and the last of 
these divisions, or provinces, were annexed to " The Honorable 
East India Company's" dominions; viz., Arakan, a narrow 
strip of coast on the east of the Bay of Bengal, stretching 
from Chittagong on the north, by the western Yoma range, to 

l 



2 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

Maudin Point, near the mouth of the Bassein River, on the 
south ; and Tenasserim, another narrow territory on the east of 
the Gulf of Martaban, extending from a point on the Salween 
River, not many miles north of Maulmain, southward to the 
Isthmus of Kraw. The central province, Pegu, which was by 
far the most valuable portion of the old Burman Empire, was 
annexed by Lord Dalhousie in 1852, at the close of the second 
and last war with Burma. By this annexation, the great Eng- 
lish trading-company united under its control the entire sea- 
board of India, Ceylon, and Burma, from Kurrachee in the 
north-west to the Isthmus of Kraw in the south-east, — a coast- 
line of more than five thousand miles. Thus the king of 
Burma at the same time lost the great rice-granary of his 
kingdom, Pegu, and was cut off from all independent access 
to the sea. 

Bassein is the south-western district of the Pegu division. 
The present area of the district is 7,047 square* miles, about 
equal to that of Massachusetts, or the principality of Wales. 
Of this area, 5,998 square miles are officially returned as cul- 
turable, of which only 53G miles are under cultivation. Of rich 
lowland, adapted to rice, it is estimated that Bassein has twice 
as much as any other district in Burma. Indeed, it may be said 
that in natural fertility of soil, in the regularity and abundance 
of the rainfall, and in general adaptation to the growth of a 
grain which constitutes the staple food of a majority of the 
human race, and is becoming more and more a necessity in 
the economy of European life, Bassein is hardly excelled by any 
district in the world. According to the census of 1881, the 
population is 389,419 (Karens 96,008), which is barely 55£ 
to the square mile. At the same time, the demand for the 
chief product of the district seems to be constant and increas- 
ing at well maintained prices. So far, then, as room for growth 
and a chance for a livelihood go, the native Christians of Bas- 
sein have a goodly heritage. 

The district headquarters are in Bassein, a municipality con- 
taining 28,147 inhabitants, — about one-fifth of the population 



THE DAY-STAR APPEARS. 3 

of Eangoon, or one-third that of Maulmain. The town is 
situated on the east bank of the Ngawoon, or Bassein River, 
about eighty miles from its mouth. The largest ships and 
steamers come up to the town without difficulty. The facilities 
for milling and loading the grain are excellent ; so that Bassein 
now stands second to Rangoon only, in the amount of rice 
exported annually. 

To trace the beginnings of missionary effort in Bassein, it 
will be necessary to go back to Burman times, seventeen years 
before the conquest of Pegu by the British arms. In April, 
1835, Rev. Thomas Simons, returning from a visit to Arakan, 
determined to travel overland, through the Burmese territory of 
Bassein, to Rangoon. Armed with a pass from the English 
commissioner, he proceeded by boat from Comstock's house 
in Kyouk Pyoo, vid Sandoway to Khyoungthah, where he 
arrived April 20, late in the evening. From this point, Bas- 
sein missionaries of the present day can trace with interest 
every step of his way to the residence of Rev. Messrs. Webb 
and Howard in Rangoon. Mr. Simons writes : — 

"At nine o'clock, p.m., the island, 1 which is at the entrance of the 
creek we wished to enter, was in sight; and we were soon inside, and 
anchored for the night. 

11 April 21. — This morning, before leaving the boat, the villagers 
came to me for some tracts, and were supplied. The head man had my 
baggage carried to his house, where I am now reclining on a bamboo 
couch, surrounded by Burmans and fourteen Karens, — six men and 
eight women. The Karen women look well, and are very well dressed. 
Their village 2 is near by, and contains fifteen houses. I gave them 

i On this gem of an island, fifty feet above the sea, the Bassein mission 
now has a healthful place of rest for the hot season. In 1S7G the British 
Government kindly granted to the American Baptist Missionary Union 
two acres of land on the most eligible part of the bluff. A clearing has 
been made, and a cheap bungalow erected, without expense to the society. 
The island is within the limits of the Bassein district, — about thirty miles 
due west from the town. 

2 These Karens who surrounded the couch of the weary traveller, 
undoubtedly came from Kangyee, a hamlet less than two miles distant 



4 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

the Catechism, and requested them to get a Burman to read it to 
them; and they must hearken, for it would tell them good things. 
I informed them that the Karens near Tavoy, Manlmain, and Ran- 
goon, had the same word, and liked it very much. Several Burmans 
came for books, and the house was full nearly all day. At night I 
bargained with six men to carry my baggage over the mountains, 
aud we are to leave before sunrise." 

At four o'clock the next mornino; the traveller's luasra^e 
was put into two of the little canoes peculiar to that locality ; 
and a party of nine men, including an armed policeman, 
escorted him up the river by the brilliant light of the tropical 
moon. The mangrove-trees, with their aerial roots growing 
close down to the water's edge; the wild " sea-cocoanut " 
trees overlooking them ; rare orchids, that would bring a fortune 
in the conservatories of England, clinging to tree-trunks and 
branches in every direction ; the hoot of the night-owl, giving 
place, as the day dawns, to a great variety of tropical birds ; 
families of monkeys looking for a breakfast of crabs on the 
muddy banks ; beautiful jelly-fish, pink and white, lazily float- 
ing with the tide ; .the weird songs and cries of his own boat- 
men, — all tell the venturesome 3 r oung missionary that he is in 
a strange land, far from kindred and friends, exposed, perhaps, 
to dangers at which he can only guess. At seven o'clock they 
reach the landing at the head of the stream. Crossing the 
British boundary, and breakfasting by the way, the difficulties 
of the nine-miles' walk through tangled forests, over the low 
mountain pass, are surmounted by one, p. jr., when they emerge 

on the south side of the river. Within seven years after this passing visit, 
they were worshipping the true God. "With their children, and probably 
with some of the younger members of that very party, the compiler of 
this sketch is well acquainted. For him they built with their own hands 
the first mission sanitarium on the island. He has eaten their rice, and 
slept in their houses. They have guided him in long journeys up and 
down that picturesque coast. He has communed with them by the way, 
and he knows that they are children of God. To our deceased brother 
belongs the honor of communicating to that little community the first 
gleam of light from the Father of lights, and from the ever radiant cross. 



THE DAY-STAR APPEARS. 5 

at the head waters of the Kyouk Kkyoung-gyee Creek, on the 
border of the great deltaic plain, which stretches away east- 
ward for two hundred miles without a hill. Wading occa- 
sionally, they go down the shallow brook, passing a score or 
more of men cutting bamboos, where they still cut them for 
use in the city and many of the eastern villages. With the 
quick eye of an observer, he marks their sleeping- places high 
up in the tree-tops, out of the reach of prowling tigers and 
wild elephants. He writes : — 

" They soon collected around us, and had many questions to a.sk. 
I opened my budget of books, and gave the Catechism to each one, 
and, in addition, the ' Golden Balance ' and ' Ship of Grace ' to the 
owner of the borrowed boat. For some time they sat talking to- 
gether, admiring the books, — first, the whiteness of the paper, then 
the writing, as they supposed it to be, and, last of all, the subject. 
Hired a boat from one of them for a rupee, and at two, p.m., em- 
barked to descend the creek, taking three of the [Khyoungthah] men 
with me, the rest returning with the head man and guard. Overtook 
several rafts of bamboos floating down the creek, with three or four 
men on each. Gave tracts to them, also to the people whom I met 
in their canoes, and to the inhabitants who live on the banks of 
the creek. Passed a Karen settlement of three or four houses ; but, 
seeing no one out, I placed a Catechism at the end of a canoe, in 
hopes that when they came out to their boat they would see it, and 
get some Burman to read it to them." 

This, again, is historic. That little Karen hamlet was Thaupo, 
a branch of Kaukau Pgah, the bauner church of Bassein, and 
probably the most enterprising and benevolent church in all 
Burma (see chap. xix.). How would our brother's heart have 
leaped with joy if he could have foreseen the future ! What 
prompted him to leave a Burmese Catechism in a crack of that 
wretched little Karen canoe? And, having done it, what led 
him to write to America about it? And why should Dr. Bolles 
print it? And why, on this twenty-first day of April, 1881, 
just forty-six long years after, should this man light upon it, 
and, knowing all the wonderful sequences, seize upon it as 



6 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

treasure-trove? Was it not that American Christians mignt 
again be reminded that such leaflets and bits of Scripture are 
potent? that God's word cannot return unto him void? But if 
the doubter prefers to believe that the Karens never found the 
little book ; or, finding it, never employed a Burman to read it 
to them ; or, having found an interpreter, that they received not 
the truth into their hearts, — then we seize upon the incident all 
the same, and pronounce it a prophecy. The simple faith and 
the love in the heart of my father's Newton classmate, Simons, 
led him to do what he did. He believed, that, come what 
would to himself or his book, God had a chosen people in 
those jungles and in that very village at his side ; and so he 
left a fragment of God's truth on the empty boat, as Jacob 
set up his rock-pillow for a pillar, anointing it with oil, and 
saying, "This shall be God's house!" Nor has the God 
of Jacob ever failed to honor and richly bless such faith iu his 
servants. 

At sunset of the same day our pioneer reached the large 
Burman village of Kyouk Khyoung-gyee, on the Bassein River, 
seven or eight miles above the town. Here, after reporting 
his arrival to the head man, Simons busied himself in preach- 
ing, and distributing tracts, until ten, p.m. At four, a.m., 
the government men came, when, damp and cold from the 
heavy dew, he got into their canoe, and two hours later was 
landed in Bassein. In due course he visited the principal offi- 
cials, and was kindly received, but as a traveller, not as a 
religious teacher. The night after his arrival he was taken 
quite ill, owing, doubtless, to fatigue and exposure. Still, 
from the 23d to the 25th he managed to do considerable 
religious work. 

At two, p.m., on the 2oth, he left Bassein in a Burman boat 
for Ptmtanau, by the usual route. At dark, he says, they left 
the river, and entered a creek, now called the Rangoon Creek. 
" Came to a small village [Kanyua, undoubtedly] about nine 
o'clock, where the boat was made fast with other's, and I went 
to sleep. Started very early on the 2Gth, and stopped at a 



THE DAY-STAR APPEARS. 7 

village 1 about eight, a.m." Here, as usual, he went ashore, 
and distributed tracts. He adds, " As I passed along to-day, 
I heard the Karens singing in their villages." How familiar is 
this ground to the missionary now ! The songs which Simons 
then heard were plaintive enough, but intensely demoniacal. 
For forty 3-ears now, those same villages have resounded with 
the songs of Zion. Passing through one of the three narrow 
yay-gyaus, or cross-cuts, which lead to Rangoon, he reached 
Shwayloung on the 29th, Pantanau on the 1st of May, and 
thence, by the Panlang Creek, to Kemendine and Rangoon, on 
the 3d, arriving at the house of his missionary brethren after 
dark. He adds, that on this trip he gave away more than 
eight hundred tracts, mostly in places where neither missionary 
nor tracts had been before. 

Prompted, perhaps, by Mr. Simons's successful journey, Mr. 
Webb writes on the 31st of December, 1835, "We are prepar- 
ing to go in a few days on a tour to Bassein, and may possibly 
go over to Arakan." This plan was partially carried out by 
Mr. Howard alone in the following October. 

In April, 1836, Mr. and Mrs. (Marcia D.) Ingalls, newly 
arrived missionaries, on their way from Maulmain to settle in 
Arakan, were stopped at Cape Negrais by a violent storm, and 
went up the river to Bassein for refuge. As storm-bound 
travellers, they were kindly received by the officials. Permis- 
sion to remain until the close of the rains was granted to them, 
but on condition that they would not circulate Christian books. 
As they could not give such a pledge, and as the season seemed 
to be too far advanced to proceed to Arakan in safety, they 
reluctantly returned to Maulmain. 

Oct. 2, 1836, Rev. Mr. Howard reached Bassein from Ran- 
goon, vid Pantanau and Shwayloung. He staid three days in 

1 Probably Myoungmya, where there is now a court, two or three Eng- 
lish officials, and a Roman-Catholic mission. At this point he was within 
four or five miles of Kyootoo, the village of the ""young chief," where 
Abbott first preached the gospel, and the first Christian Karen church 
was formed, within the present limits of the Bassein district. 



8 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

the town, and distributed many tracts among the Burmans. 
Going and coming, he met many Karens, mostly Pwos. He 
learned that the Bassein Karens could speak Burmese more 
generally than those of other districts. He also adds his opin- 
ion, that " these Karens are much less filthy in their personal 
appearance than any others I have seen." 

Our space is too limited for even a brief consideration of 
the remarkable but well-known traditions of the Karens. The 
Bassein branch of the race, reputed to be of somewhat ignoble 
origin, shared full} 7 in these traditions ; and the day of their 
redemption is now ready to dawn. Rumors of the great work 
begun anions; their brethren in the eastern districts have 
reached them. The spirit of God has already begun to sway 
the hearts of not a few towards himself, inclining them, not 
only to receive the message of salvation when it shall be 
brought to them, but to go long distances, through an enemy's 
country, in search of u the white book," and the white brothers 
who have come from the distant West to teach them. Christ's 
chosen vessel to bear his name to them — the wise master- 
builder, who is appointed and prepared to lay the foundation- 
stones of a divine building among them — is at hand. 

Elisha Litchfield Abbott, the spiritual father of the Bassein 
Karen Baptists, and one of the most striking characters in the 
history of modern missions, was a descendant of a Yorkshire 
family, a native of Gazenovia, N.Y., and a son of the seminary 
at Hamilton. Arriving in Maulmain Feb. 20, 1836, at the age 
of twenty-six, he was met on the threshold of his career by 
a well-nigh fatal attack of jungle-fever. Establishing himself 
temporarily at a new station on Balu Island, after his recovery, 
he applied himself diligently and most successfully to the study 
of Karen. In September of the same year he accompanied 
Rev. Messrs. Vinton and Howard on a Ions; tour in the Rangoon 
district. In the vicinity of Maubee, about thirty miles north of 
the town of Rangoon, they baptized a hundred and seventy- 
three Karens who had become Christians, chiefly, Mr. Howard 



THE DAY-STAR APPEARS. 9 

says, through the instrumentality of Ko Thahbyu. United in 
marriage to Miss Gardner, in Tavoy, April 2, 1837, he pro- 
ceeded with his wife to Rangoon, for the purpose of laboring 
among the Karens of that region, arriving on the 20th. The 
Karens received them with great joy. Only one of the large 
number baptized the previous year had apostatized. 

On the 25th of May Mr. Abbott baptized three Karens, and 
wrote that many others were waiting for the ordinance, most 
of whom had been converted for several years. A number of 
young men and boys who had previously learned to read came in 
to study, — the first of a long succession of youth who resorted 
to him with ever increasing delight for instruction in the word 
of God. The Burman authorities had forbidden the Karens to 
have books, or to learn to read. What could have been better 
adapted to provoke them to the pursuit of knowledge than the 
disapproval and prohibition of their savage oppressors ? Hence 
Abbott is able to record, " Although there have been no regu- 
lar schools established, yet there are several hundreds who have 
learned to read at their own homes, when no Burman was near 
to report them to the rulers." Several }'oung men besides Ko 
Thahbyu had been sent out to preach from village to village, 
who generally came in once a month to report. 

The hostility of the Burmans, and rumors of war, made it 
advisable for the Abbotts to leave for Maulmain on the 10th of 
August. They were absent, however, less than three months, 
returning at the opening of the dry season. Nov. 10 Abbott 
writes, that three men called from the vicinity of Pantanau. in 
the Bassein district. One professed to have worshipped God 
for three years ; another, for some months. Others came with 
them the next day, "very stupid, and indifferent to the sub- 
ject," he says. But he did not know Karens at that time as 
well as afterwards. The very fact that they would venture to 
visit the white teacher, as they did repeatedly, in opposition 
to the well-known will of their cruel masters, was enough to 
prove that they were far from being "indifferent," however 
stupid they may have been in appearance or realit}'. On the 



10 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

13th the party returned to their homes, with a good supply 
of books, and two of Mr. Abbott's assistants to teach and 
preach in their vicinit}'. In the letter announcing this, he says, 
" No teacher has ever yet visited that region." This, then, is 
the first reference in the annals of our missions to direct gospel- 
work in behalf of the Karens of Bassein. 

Meanwhile, for the encouragement of the inquirers in Bas- 
sein, the Rangoon Christians are grievously oppressed. They 
are taxed so heavily, that some parents are obliged to sell their 
children as slaA r es to the Burmans. De Poh, one of the best 
preachers, is threatened with death if he does not renounce 
Christianity. The Karens are divided among themselves ; one 
party embracing the new religion, another as earnestly opposing 
it. Me Poh, an old Karen chief, does his utmost to incite 
and to help the viceroy put down the Christians. Never was 
a young missionary in more trying circumstances, but his faith 
and courage were equal to the occasion. Dec. 14 Mr. Abbott 
left Rangoon to make his first visit to Bassein. He shall tell 
the story in his own language. 

'■'■Dec. 16. — About ten this morning, arrived at the point where 
the Rangoon branch [Panlang Creek] separates from the main body 
of the river. The Irrawaddy was before us in all its grandeur and 
majesty. . . . Crossed the river, and came to a Karen village. 1 The 
first house we entered was a house of prayer. We found several 
Christians, some of whom I had previously seen in Rangoon. Very 
soon an old man came in, and almost his first words were, ' Teacher, 
I want to be baptized.' Upon inquiry, I learned the following story. 
Two years ago a Barman came along, and wanted to sell the old man 
two little books. As he could read Burmese, he purchased them for 
two large bunches of plantains. They proved to be * The Ship of 
Grace ' and ' The Golden Balance,' which the Burman probably 
received from a missionary. He read the books, and they told him 
about the great God. He was not satisfied. lie had heard that the 
Karens in Maubee had received a ' new religion.' The old man made 

1 Undoubtedly Sekkau, just within the old limits of the Bassein district, 
and still a Christian village connected with the Rangoon association. 



THE DAY-STAR APPEARS. 11 

his way thither, through the wilderness, exposed to wild beasts and 
robbers, obtained light, gave up all his former customs, embraced the 
gospel with all his heart, and for one year has been a faithful and con- 
sistent Christian, with all his house. He has been the means of the 
conversion of several of his neighbors. 

" 17th, Sabbath. — Had worship in the morning and evening with the 
Christians. But few others came in. Towards evening, went out into 
the village, and gathered a little group ; but they all with one consent 
began to make excuse. The Karens are a peculiar people. They are 
either for or against, and that altogether. There are no neutrals. 
Were it not for an almighty Ageucy accompanying the truth, I would 
close the book of God, and retire in despair. I cannot but remark 
the difference between Christian and heathen families of children. 
In the fo v mer, all is quiet and order. No fears are manifested at my 
approach, as in other families : on the contrary, the children cluster 
around, lay hold of my hands, sit at my feet, and receive lessons in 
reading. 

" 18th. — Left these good people this morning, and arrived at Panta- 
nau 1 at four, p.m., four days north-west from Rangoon. Here, again, 
I was joyfully received by the friends of the missionary's God. At 
evening the people assembled, and listened to the parable, ' Behold, a 
sower went forth to sow.' There are but three individuals who are 
decided Christians ; although many others have abandoned all their 
old customs, love the truth, keep the sabbath, etc., but still think they 
have not new hearts. The people of the village are all anxious to 
learn to read. If I had a good assistant to leave here, no doubt many 
would embrace the truth. 

"19th. — The village which I especially designed to visit being one 
day farther on, I left the people where I stopped last night, and arrived 
at this village 2 towards evening. The people flocked together, old and 
young, to express their joy at my arrival. After some conversation, I 
asked them how many had embraced the Christian religion. ' AH,' 
' AH,' ' Every one of us,' was answered by forty voices. We sung 
a hymn of praise to God. What cause of devout gratitude to the 

1 Not the large Burman town of that name, but a Karen village some 
distance below, — Khateeyah perhaps, where pastor Nahkee has long re- 
sided. Both this church and Pgoo Khyoung retained their connection with 
the Bassein association until 1875, when they united witb Rangoon. 

2 Exact location uncertain, probably on the main river, below Shway 
Loung. "Was it Ko Dau's village ? 



12 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

Saviour, that he is raising up in these wilds a people to serve him, and 
to perpetuate his glory on the earth ! At evening the people assem- 
bled in the most convenient house in the village, and listened to the 
words of Christ to Nicodemus : 'Ye must be born again.' After 
prayer and singing, several came forward, and asked for baptism. On 
inquiry, I learned that the first they heard of the gospel was four years 
ago, from Burmese tracts, which they obtained from the Burmans. 
Some began to worship God from that time; but, not having sufficient 
light, they still practised some of their former customs. Two years 
ago some of the old men visited Maubee, obtained further instruc- 
tion, and became more consistent in their religious life. Eight or nine 
months since, another deputation was sent to visit the Maubee church, 
learned to read, obtained books, and, returning, became missionaries to 
their neighbors. I have seen several of the old men in Rangoon ; and 
two of the assistants have spent a few of the last months in these 
villages. For the last six months there has been a general turning 
to the Lord, so that, at present, there are very few who are willing to 
acknowledge themselves heathen. After I had stated to them the 
prerequisites of baptism, many of them hesitated, saying, ' AVe are 
not yet worthy.' They dispersed at a late hour, with a promise of 
assembling early to-morrow morning. 

"20th. — Spent the day in the examination of those who had asked 
for baptism. 1 At the setting of the sun we assembled on the banks of 
the river, where I baptized thirty-four, in obedience to the command 
of my divine Master. The scene was deeply solemn. The banks were 
lined with an attentive group, who beheld in silence the observance of 
this ordinance for the first time. These mighty waters, which have 
hitherto only echoed the heathen's prayer and the songs of devils, 
have at length witnessed the baptismal vows of converted Pagans. 
God Almighty grant that such scenes may follow in quick succession, 
till not a cottage shall be found, where there may not be seen an altar 
to the living God, till every canoe floating on the broad bosom of the 
Irrawaddy shall bear disciples of King Jesus, and until the songs of 
demons shall be hushed to silence by the sweeter melody of Prince 
Iinmanuel's praise ! After the baptism, the people assembled for wor- 
ship ; and I repeated to them the words of the Saviour : ' He that 
followeth me shall not walk in darkness but shall have the light of 



1 Mark the carefulness and deliberation with which these first Bassein 
converts are received. 



THE DAY-STAR APPEARS. 13 

life.' At a late hour of the night I heard the voice of prayer and 
praise from many families in the village, till I fell asleep. 

" 21st. — I had intended to make this village the extent of my present 
tour, not knowing but that the long-talked-of war may come before 
my return to Rangoon ; but trusting in that good Providence which 
has hitherto been as a cloudy pillar by day, and a pillar of fire by 
night, I will venture on. At a large village three days west, there 
lives a Karen chief, who is the head of all the tribes in this region. 
He has heard something of the gospel, but is still a heathen in prac- 
tice. Having heard that I intended to come this way, he left word 
with the people, that, if I came, I must certainly visit him at his own 
village. Perhaps he wishes to see me to gratify his curiosity; per- 
haps, if I visit him, the word of God will enlighten his dark soul, and 
guide him to heaven. I consequently left this morning, and am 
passing quietly down the river, the banks of which are lined with 
Pwo Karen 1 villages, which have hitherto heard nothing of the gospel. 
I intend to send to Tavoy for a Pwo assistant and books, and try to 
do something for that people. 

" 23d. — Arrived at the Karen chief's this evening, after three days' 
travel through the wilderness, with only here and there a Burman vil- 
lage, especially the last two days. The chief (Myat Oung by name) 
is an old man of seventy-five, full of strength and of years, and har- 
dened in sin. His eldest wife exhibits only the last glimmerings of 
reason, but few removes from idiocy. At evening a few who had 
heard of my arrival came in, but were as wild as the mountain deer." 

Mr. Abbott was now well within the present narrower bor- 
ders of the Bassein district. Careful inquiry of old men who 
were present at this visit of their revered teacher makes it 
certain that the location of the village reached by Mr. Abbott 
on this occasion was much lower down the Kyunton Creek than 
the present Christian village of Kyootoo. Rev. Mau Yay, the 
pastor of that mother-church, and from the first one of the 
ablest and most devoted Christian leaders in the w r hole district 
(one of the two " Moung Y<5s " of Abbott's journals), informs 
me that the old village was on the east bank of the stream, only 

1 The Karens of Pegu and Tenasserirn are divided into two tribes,— 
the Sgaus and the Pwos, who speak somewhat different dialects. 



14 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

two bends, or two bends and a half above its month. It was 
below Sittabeng, and four or five miles north from Myoungmya 
(p. 7). The spot where the gospel was first preached in Bas- 
sein to an attentive, believing congregation might well be 
marked by a monument ; and Christmas Day, 1887, the semi- 
centennial anniversary of this historic visit, might well be cele- 
brated throughout Bassein by solemn assemblies for praise and 
worship. Of the reception of the missionary's message on the 
morrow, of the arrival of company after company all day long, 
of the breaking-down of the house, and of the remarkable 
meeting Christmas Eve, prolonged under the open sk}- until 
long past midnight, we leave Mr. Abbott to tell in his own 
graphic language : — 



" Dec. 24, Sabbath. — By ten o'clock this morning seventy or eighty 
had assembled for worship. Very good attention was given, and some 
appeared to be pricked in the heart. At one o'clock the morning 
assembly dispersed ; and another company of about the same number, 
who were detained in the morning, came. These listened till sunset. 
After these had left, other companies came flocking in from distant 
villages, many of whom had travelled all day without eating, fearing 
they should not arrive in time to see me. We had commenced sing- 
ing a hymn, the people still flocking in, when the cry was heard, ' The 
house is falling.' It was not very strong, but I should think would 
contain two hundred with safety. The people hastened out, spread a 
mat on the ground in the open field, upon which I sat, and themselves 
gathered around, and sat upon the ground. A few old men sat near, 
who would question when they did not understand. All around was 
the darkness and stillness of night. Not a cloud obscured the heav- 
ens, which were spread out over our heads as a beautifully bespangled 
curtain. In one hand I held a dimly burning taper ; in the other, the 
word of God. The firmament on high showed God's handiwork in 
the creation of the world : the Bible in my hand taught the wonder- 
ful story of its redemption by Jesus Christ. Midnight had long 
passed away ere the assembly dispersed, and then they withdrew 
reluctantly. May the good Lord of the harvest pour out his Spirit, 
and gather in many of these poor souls, and may they shine eternally 
in glory, the trophies of victorious grace ! " 



TIIE DAY-STAR APPEARS. 15 

On the following morning, Dec. 25, the missionary started 
on his return to Rangoon, leaving a young man, Mau Mway by 
name, to teach the people to read, and to exhort them to take 
heed to the things which they had heard. On his way back, 
he stopped two nights at the Christian village of "Pantanau," 
where he baptized nine more ; making a church in that place of 
forty-three members. Friday night he spent at a Karen vil- 
lage, where there were a few Christians. Saturday evening he 
arrived at Sekkau, where he spent Sunday, and baptized the old 
man who bought the tracts from a Burman, his wife, his son, 
and three others ; making in all forty-nine baptized on this trip, 
— the first-fruits of the gospel in Bassein. New-Year's Daj T , 
1838, he spent in his boat, " ruminating on the past, with now 
and then a glance to the future, surveying the field of the 
Saviour's future triumph." The man of faith and works adds, 
in conclusion, " The work of the Lord is going on among the 
Karens, and will go on, in spite of the Burmana and the Devil." 



CHAPTER II. 

1838-1839. 

" The truth in my heart was like a stake, slightly driven into soft 
ground, easily swayed, and in danger of falling before the wind; but, by 
the sledge-hammer of persecution, God drove it in by successive blows, 
till it became immovable." — Amoojah, North Armenian Mission. 

The circumstances under which the Karens of Rangoon and 

Bassein first carne into the kingdom of Christ were adapted 

to test their sincerity and faith to the utmost. They were 

still absolutely in the power of the Burmans. The degree of 

despotism which prevailed around them, the fines and fiendish 

tortures which Burmese ingenuity was accustomed to inflict, 

they well understood. That any communication with the white 

man, any disposition to adopt his religion, any aspiration after 

learning that was not Burmese and Boodhistic, would provoke 

the wrath of their masters, and bring them into direful straits, 

they were well aware. They knew, moreover, that, of their 

own kindred and language, there were not a few of the baser 

sort who would gladly betray them. "Widely different are the 

circumstances under which the native subjects of Victoria now 

profess Christianity. These, exposed at most to family trials, 

to some inconvenience, perhaps to loss and popular odium, are 

sure of protection as to life, property, and the exercise of all 

natural rights : reasonably sure, also, are they of help in times 

of famine or other trouble. Those, on the other hand, were 

exposed to the loss of all things, to tortures and death itself ; 

their teachers being powerless to help or relieve them. Still, 

sustained by the true martyr-spirit, thousands of them did not 
16 



CLOUDS. — u THE YOUNG CHIEF." 17 

falter, " of whom," it may be said, as of the ancient worthies, 
" the world was not worthy." 

Mr. Abbott continued in charge of the Karen work in the 
Rangoon district. On the 24th of March, 1838, he writes : — 

"On the loth I left Ponau at five, a.m., and travelled over the 
plain west, eight miles, to the village of Raytho, the most central of 
the Maubee cluster. The brethren, notified of my coming, came to- 
gether, with many who were asking for baptism. Spent the day in 
examining candidates. At evening a large concourse from the adja- 
cent villages. Finished the examination at ten, p.m., when we repaired 
to a small lake. The multitude assembled on its beautiful banks. 
The full moon rose in a cloudless sky ; nature was silent ; we bowed 
and prayed, and God was there. I then baptized thirty-seven who 
had been received by the church. After this, I administered tlie sac- 
rament of the Supper to more than a hundred of my Master's disci- 
ples. At half-past twelve o'clock I lay down on the ground, and 
slept until four, a.m. 

" On the 10th I returned to Ponau, and sent word to all near to 
come in at evening. The people began to collect at sunset, in such 
numbers that no house in the village would contain them. "We "assem- 
bled, therefore, in the open field, as on the preceding evening. The 
examination of candidates continued till eleven o'clock ; after which I 
baptized thirty, and administered the Lord's Slipper to a hundred and 
fifty. Half an hour past midnight I bade adieu to these precious dis- 
ciples of Christ, and started for Rangoon, where I arrived at six, p.m. 

" I had but two objects in visiting these people at this perilous 
time. One was to give some instructions as to discipline ; the other, 
to administer the Lord's Supper. I well knew, that, if the Burmans 
were apprised of any large gathering at the present time, it would 
excite persecution : I therefore moved cautiously, and even forbade 
the people to meet in large congregations in the daytime. But they 
came flocking around, and pleaded so earnestly for baptism, giving 
withal such evidence of a change of heart and life, that I could not 
repel them. Most of those whom I baptized have been consistent 
Christians for five years. A few had embraced the gospel within the 
last year. I have since heard, that, after I left, a multitude came in 
from different villages to see me, many of whom wished to be bap- 
tized. The work of the Lord is certainly going forward in the jun- 
gles, through the instrumentality of the native assistants. I have 



18 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

heard of several villages where the people have mostly forsaken their 
former customs, and embraced the Christian faith. But it will not 
do for me to visit them at present. . . . All the threats and oppres- 
sion of the Burmans have not turned aside a single individual from 
his integrity." 



Close communication is still kept up with the infant churches 
in Bassein. On the 25th of January Mr. Simons wrote that 
three young Karen Christians had returned from the villages 
near Pantanau, where brother Abbott had left them to teach 
the Karens to read, etc. He gave them three Testaments, and 
some tracts to distribute. On the 2d of February these same 
young men called, on their way back to Pantanau ; aucl Mr. 
Simons gave them a supply of Karen tracts, which Mr. Abbott 
had left for distribution among the heads of families ; also six 
Burman Testaments, and a number of Burman tracts and Scrip- 
ture Digests, to be given to Karens and Burmans. On the 10th 
of March Mr. Abbott again sends two young Karen disciples 
into the Bassein district, with a good supply of books, to teach 
the people to read and pray. Again, on the 5th of April, he 
sends some assistants to Pantanau to teach school, and preach 
in that vicinity. 

May 7 he writes: "Assistants returned from Pantanau. 
The church-members there, as yet, enjoy their liberty, and 
appear to be moving onward steadily and joyfully in the Chris- 
tian course. Since my visit very many have turned unto the 
Lord, and are now asking for baptism. Nearer Bassein, they 
are repeating their calls for books and another visit. " May 13, 
Sunday : several Karens came in from the Pantanau church. 
"Had worship with them morning and evening in Karen. 
Thank the Lord," he writes, " for another quiet sabbath with 
the dear Karen disciples!" In view of the persecutions and 
dangers to which they were subjected, he thought it wise to 
defer exclusions for delinquency; e.g., the Burman woondouk 
of Rangoon now threatens to thrust hollow sticks filled with 
gunpowder down the throats of the Karen Christians, and blow 
them to atoms. 



CLOUDS. — "THE YOUNG CHIEF." 19 

On the 8th of June several Christians from Bassein and 
Pantanau arrived in Rangoon, " to visit the teacher." They 
brought a letter to Mr. Abbott from Shway Weing, "the 
young chief " of Kyootoo, — a man of superior talents and ex- 
tensive influence, who first heard the gospel from Mr. Abbott 
during his memorable visit at Kyootoo the previous Christmas. 
Since that time he had learned to read and write his own language 
well, had renounced heathenism, and embraced the religion of 
the Bible. Mr. Abbott translates the letter as follows : — 

SHWAY WEING'S LETTER TO HIS BROTHER. 

O Teacher, — My brethren at the villages of Pahpay, Kaunee, 
Kahkau, and Kyouk Khyoung-gyee, and on towards the setting sun, 
all worship God, every one. But we have no books. That we may 
have books and instruction, will you not come and bring them? 
There is not an individual, among all who worship God, who can 
teach us. O teacher ! that we may fully understand the word of the 
eternal God, and keep it, and be enabled to distinguish between right 
and wrong, we are very anxious that you come again. If you can- 
not come yourself, send teacher De Poh with books. O brother 
teacher I although we worship God, we do not know any thing yet. 
If you come, do not forget to bring a great many books. O brother I 
your brethren, Shway Weing, Mau Yay, and Moung Shway, request; 
you to come. I have therefore written this letter. When it arrives, 
and you look at it, you will understand, O brother ! 

June 10 Mr. Abbott began school with a class of fourteen 
young men, most of whom were from Bassein, and unbaptized. 
The}' were very urgent to be baptized immediately, but their 
teacher thought it more prudent not to baptize them in the 
city. On the 20th Shway Weing himself arrived with nine 
other young men, who had been converted under his instru- 
mentality, (query : was it not, more likely, under the instru- 
mentality of Mau Yay?) and had now come to study with the 
teacher. W^e quote from Mr. Abbott : — 

" He says, that, for several weeks past, his house has been thronged 
with visitors from distant villages, who have come expressly to learn 



20 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

from him concerning this new religion. Many of these stay with him 
several days, learn to read a little, get a book, and return to tell their 
neighbors what they have heard, and to read to them. His object in 
coming to me now is to be baptized, and carry back books on his 
return. On learning that I had but very few Karen books just now, 
he said that he must have live hundred, one for each house; if not so 
many, by all means thirty, one for each village. 

"21sl. — The young chief says he cannot return to his village un- 
less he is baptized. I spent yesterday and last evening with him, and 
a more interesting converted heathen I never saw. "When I first saw 
him, in December last, he was a most ungovernable, wicked, and reek- 
heathen. He is now ' clothed, and in his right mind, sitting at 
the feet of Jesus,' — a praying, humble, consistent Christian. 

"22d. — Very early this morning repaired to a small lake away 
from the city, in a retired spot, where I baptized Shway Weing, after 
which he left us for his native wilds. Eight of the young men who 
came with him remain with me, making my class twenty-two, more 
than I intended to allow to remain in the city at one time. I know 
not but we shall draw down upon ourselves the wrath of the Burman 
officers." 

Through the remainder of this month and July the school 
was carried on, but tmder great difficulties, and with most seri- 
ous risk to health and life. The rains were at their heaviest. 
The living-rooms of the mission family, the schoolroom, the 
Karen sleeping and cooking rooms, were all under one narrow 
roof. Several of the pupils came down with fever. Abbott 
himself had a violent attack, and was so reduced, that his 
physician urged a sea-voyage : but lie felt that lie could not 
leave his class. At last, being convinced that all could not 
remain in so close quarters with safety to life, he sends six or 
eight of the young meu away to study with an assistant iu the 
jungle. At the beginning of August he has fourteen students 
doing well in their studies, and several begging for baptism. 
But there is a dark cloud in the horizon, wdiich will shortly 
break upon them, and try the souls of the missionary and his 
young converts severely. We condense Mr. Abbott's account 
in the Magazine : — 



CLOUDS. — "the young chief: 1 ' 21 

" Aug. 5, Sabbath. — Thirty Karens at worship, among whom are the 
young chief from Basseiu, and sevei'al from Pantanau, who have come 
for books, and to ask for baptism. Four have died in Bassein within 
the last few weeks, all of whom first heard the gospel last December. 
They had all renounced their superstitions, and embraced the truth. 
One has died in the Pantanau church, — an old woman one hundred 
and twenty years of age. After groping in the dark for more than a 
century, at the close of her hundred and twentieth year she heard 
of salvation by a crucified Saviour. A ray of light divine pierced her 
poor, dark soul. She believed and was baptized, and died in the faith. 
She had been unable to walk, and quite blind from old age, for the last 
thirty years. When I baptized her, her son brought her in his arms 
to the waterside. I took her in my arms, and immersed her ; then 
her son took her again, and carried her to the house. Shway Weing 
says he wants a thousand books, — one for each of those who worship 
God, and have learned to read. 

" 6th. — Four of the Karens are under arrest, and will probably be 
cast into prison. The circumstances are these : fourteen Karens were 
to return to Bassein and Pantanau ; some this evening, and others 
in the morning. Six of them, taking several books in a small cov- 
ered basket, left the city, and went to sleep in their boat, which is off 
some distance. Others, also, took their basket of books, and started 
to carry it out of the city-gates, designing to return, and spend the 
night here, and take their books as they passed along in the morning. 
But, as one of them was passing out, the gate-keeper asked him what 
he had in his basket. ' Sugar,' was the reply ; which was evasive, for he 
had more books than sugar. The gate-keeper, suspecting him, insisted 
on seeing what he had in his basket. On finding Karen books, he took 
him before an officer for examination. Some of the other Karens, 
who had escaped, came in great terror, and informed us of what had 
happened. I knew that it would not do for me to meddle with the 
affair; but a Bengali Christian, to whose house the Karen was going 
with his books, offered to go and testify to the character of the Karen, 
etc., believing that the officer would release him. Two young students 
who knew where the officer lived, accordingly started off to guide him. 
The officer's attendants, on seeing them, knowing them to be Karens, 
seized them also. The Bengali returned, but did not tell me of the 
apprehension of the two students. lie said that the Burman official 
knew that there was a Karen chief at my house, and that he told him, 
that, if the chief would come, and claim his follower, he would release 



22 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

him. Shway Weiug, with intense anxiety depicted in his face, said, 
' Teacher, what shall I do ? ' I unhesitatingly told him to go and 
demand his follower. He went, and was at once seized ; so that now 
four of them are in custody, and the Burmans Avould have caught the 
rest if I had not kept them concealed in my house. 

" 7th. — The four Karens were taken before some of the principal 
officers to-day, and questioned as to where they live, what they are in 
this city for, their names, the names of their relatives, how many have 
learned to read Karen, and how many have been baptized and become 
the disciples of a 'foreigner.' In short, every thing relating to the 
kingdom of Christ, and my efforts among the Karens, was laid open 
before the officers, and recorded in 'the black book.' The Karens, 
after their ankles had been fastened in double irons, were thrust into 
the common prison with thieves and murderers. Their clothing was 
taken away, and a bit of old cloth given them to tie about their loins. 

"8th. — Early this morning the affair was formally laid before the 
woondouk. ' Where are they now ? ' demanded the woondouk. ' In 
prison,' was the reply. 'There let them remain.' I sent Taunah to 
the prison to make inquiries. As he is a British subject, the Bur- 
mans dare not meddle with him. The poor prisoners told him how 
they had spent the night, — their ankles loaded with fetters, their feet 
elevated about two feet, and made fast in the stocks; their hands, 
drawn back over the head and upward, were made fast also, their 
hips alone resting on the floor. They told Taunah, however, that 
they should have cared little for this, comparatively, but for the 
swarms of mosquitoes which preyed all night upon their naked 
bodies. In the course of the day a Burman, connected in some way 
with the officers, who pretends to be friendly to us, came with a sad 
countenance, and said that the order had been given for them to be 
executed, as an example to the Karens and all others, that they are to 
receive no more Christian books. Although I do not credit his story, 
it is indicative of the disposition of the government. They have sent 
out this report, no doubt to frighten the people, and especially to 
induce the friends of the Karens in prison, or some one, to offer a 
large ransom. It is evidently the intention of the court to put a stop 
to the progress of Christianity among the Karens, as they have done 
among the Burmans ; and they will not be scrupulous as to measures. 
The poor prisoners may have to suffer death for their religion, at 
least a long imprisonment, or be ransomed only at great cost. But 
what if they do suffer death? Is it recorded that persecution ever 



CLOUDS. — "THE YOUNG CHIEF." 23 

stopped the progress of the gospel of Christ ? There are hundreds 
of Karens in these wilds, -who would die, too, before they would re- 
nounce their faith in Jesus. Moreover, the work of conversion is 
going on at a rate hitherto unparalleled, and I believe, in God, is des- 
tined still to go on — 

' Though earth and hell oppose.' 

At evening, sent Taunah again to the prison to offer a present to the 
jailer, if, perchance, he will allow the prisoners a little rest. 

11 9th. — The present was accepted, and one foot and one hand of 
each of the prisoners were liberated. The Karen students all passed 
out of the city-gates this morning unobserved, and went to the 
jungles. There are now six others who came with Shway Weing, 
and who are hesitating whether to return, and leave him in prison. 
One of the six, a younger brother of the chief [Was it Kangyee? — 
Ed.], says he cannot leave his brother in irons, and carry the news to 
his brother's wife and babes, and their poor old father and mother. 
Indeed, it is doubtful whether they will be able to return at all, as 
Burman officers have been hanging about our house all day, looking 
in at the doors and windows to see if they can lay hold of another 
Karen. 

" 10th. — Taunah visited the prisoners as usual to-day, carrying such 
things as would make them a little comfortable, as all prisoners in 
this country have to beg or starve. They told him to tell the teacher 
that he need have no more anxiety on their account, that they had 
been praying ever since they had been in prison ; and that, although 
they were very fearful and sad when first taken, they are now happy. 
I have some hope to-day that their deliverance will arise from an 
unexpected quarter. Mr. Edwards, 1 the writer and interpreter to 
the British Resident at Amarapoora, while transacting business with 
the woondouk to-day, mentioned the case of the Karen Christians in 
prison, at which an attendant was ordered to bring the basket which 
was seized with them. There were in it several small tracts, Cate- 
chisms, and copies of Matthew and John, — in all sixty books. ' This 
is the way you do,' said the woondouk, smiling, ' is it? You come and 
fight us, and get away part of our country, and now you wish to turn 

1 This gentleman was of African descent, a man of education and 
ability. He afterwards served the English Government as collector of 
customs in Rangoon for many years. He was always a good friend of the 
missionaries, as well as bis superior, Col. Buruey, the Resident. 



24 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

away the hearts of the poor, ignorant Karens.' And then, with a pom- 
pous air which no one but a Barman could imitate, he proceeded to 
say, ' If you gave these books to the Burmans, who know too much 
to be carried away with their nonsense, it would be no matter ; but 
what do the poor, ignorant Karens know ?' Mr. Edwards at length 
extorted a promise that they shall be released. But it is the promise 
of a Burman. 

" 11th. — To-day the prisoners were sent to the great pagoda, two 
miles from the city, and offered to the gods. The ' young chief,' and 
the youth first apprehended, were in two huge pairs of iron fetters ; 
the boys, in one each. Their labor will be to pull up the grass on the 
plat around the pagoda, — a task sometimes done by Burmans volun- 
tarily as a kind of penance. They will also be compelled to beg their 
rice from day to day. But their condition is much better than when 
in prison, as they now have pure air and exercise, and are not confined 
in the stocks at night. Pagoda slaves are a class of about the same 
standing as lepers were in ancient Israel. In fact, these Karens are 
now under the charge of a keeper, who is called 'the leper-governor.' 
The thousands who flock to Shway Dagon on worship-days will sup- 
pose them to have committed some dreadful crime ; and, when they 
learn that the crime consisted in becoming the disciples of Jesus 
Christ, they will wish to know what that religion is. 

" lJ^th. — I visited the pagoda again, and, as there were very few 
persons near, ventured to converse a moment with the slaves. One 
of the boys remarked to me, ' Teacher, the officers say, if we are re- 
leased, we must never worship the foreigner's God again.' — 'Well, 
what did you answer?' — 'That we should worship with more zeal 
than ever.' Mr. Edwards mentioned to the icoondouk this morning 
the fact of the Karens having been sent to the pagoda. He endeav- 
ored to evade it ; said that his wife was the means of their going 
there, and that they could not be liberated, unless a petitiou were pre- 
sented. The truth is, he is now sorry that he promised to release 
them. If he now removes his offering, he will commit sacrilege : if 
he do not, he will break his promise, which he would make Mr. 
Edwards believe he considers sacred. 

'■'■loth. — The woondouk publicly declared, that, if any man men- 
tioned the affair of those Karens in his hearing, he would cut off his 
head. Of course he durst not include a British subject in that threat. 
Mr. Edwards has to-day extorted another promise that the Karens 
shall be liberated before the Resident leaves for the capital, which will 



CLOUDS. — "THE YOUNG CHIEF." 25 

be in six or eight days. The icoondouk declares that he releases them 
solely as a personal favor to Mr. Edwards, and that he is the only 
person who can obtain their liberation. 

«20th. — For the last few days I have occasionally visited the 
slaves at the pagoda, and have uniformly found them rejoicing in God, 
although it is still deemed doubtful by them whether they are ever 
liberated, notwithstanding the promises of the woondouk. I one day 
slipped a piece of money into Shway Weing's hands, as they found 
themselves rather straitened for food. But they did not show it, as 
they had heard it whispered that a foreigner was giving the slaves 
money; and they told Taunah that they hoped I would give them no 
more. I have been obliged to send word to the Christian chiefs to 
stay in the jungles for the present. They were about coming to pre- 
sent a petition to the icoondouk, and endeavor to redeem their breth- 
ren. But the object cannot now be effected with money. I have 
made one fruitless attempt myself." 

After many delays, with a view to extortion, and alternations 
of hope with darkest fear, the poor fellows were at last released, 
and sent to Mr. Edwards's house, on the 24th. Their teacher 
took them home, had them bathe, and gave them suits of clean 
clothing. Then they praised God together. While they were 
at the pagoda, some of the Burman devotees reviled them on 
account of their religion. One said, "If you worship Jesus 
Christ, why does he not come and take care of 3 t ou?' : To 
which the Karen replied, "We are not the first among the 
disciples of Jesus who have suffered persecution." But the 
great majority of the people expressed sympathy for them. 
The missionary's journal continues : — 

"25lh. — Succeeded, after a good deal of trouble, in procuring a 
pass for Shway Weing, and in getting him ready to leave the city; 
for, the sooner he leaves, the better. He urged me to allow him to 
take as many books as he could conceal on his person ; but I refused 
to give him one, and remarked, ' But yesterday those heavy fetters 
fell from your ankles : should you now be found with books in your 
possession, you would certainly lose your head.' — ' Should so much 
sooner get to heaven,' was his reply. Having secured a promise from 
me that I will visit Bassein after the rains, the Karens departed, 
repeating their usual request, 'Bray for us.' 



26 BASSEIN KAREN .MISSION. 

" Sept. 9. — Five Karens at worship, three of them students from 
Bassein, who fled to the Christians in Maubee when the others were 
imprisoned. As they return to-morrow morning, they urged me to 
allow them to carry a few small tracts. I told them I feared, on their 
account, to let a book go out of the city-gates. At sunset they were 
missing. I inquired anxiously, but could learn nothing of them. I 
had cautioned them to keep quiet, as the Burman officers were on the 
watch for them. Late in the evening, however, they returned with 
smiling faces. They had taken a quantity of books, passed out of the 
gates undetected, and had concealed them at 'John's house,' intend- 
ing to take them as they pass along in the morning." 

The young men succeeded in getting off with their treasures 
on the 10th, without molestation. Mr. Abbott writes in an 
unpublished letter : — 

" "What effect this affair will have finally on the cause of Christ 
will depend on future circumstances. The Karens are not a timid 
race ; and they embrace the gospel with a full knowledge of the views, 
the designs, and the power of the Burman Government, and of what 
they are consequently to expect. There is a decision of character 
among this people which cannot be found among the Burmans." 

From this time, by order of the tvoondouk, Mr. Abbott was 
closely watched. He could not travel in Burman territory 
without a pass. Nor could a pass be obtained without submit- 
ting to the closest questions, the answers to which would seri- 
ously endanger the Karens whom he so much wished to visit. 
It became more and more apparent that the government was in 
earnest in its efforts to put down Christianity everywhere in its 
dominions. We quote again from Mr. Abbott. The preacher 
to whom he refers is Maukoh, a good old man, still living, and 
well known to Bassein missionaries. One of his companions in 
suffering was Rev. My at Keh, the noble pastor of the Kohsoo 
church. 

' ; For a few weeks after Shwnv Weing and his associates were 
released, but few Karens ventured to call on me ; yet more came than 
I wished. About the first of October three men came from Bassein 
to ask a question which was to me the precursor of evil, — ' Teacher, 



CLOUDS. — "THE YOUNG CHIEF:' 27 

what shall we do? Four of our brethren are in the stocks.' They 
informed me that an assistant whom I sent to that region, and three 
young men who joined him there, were out on a preaching-tour, and 
stopped one evening at a large Karen village near to the village of a 
Burman officer. As their custom is, they called the people together, 
and preached to them. They were warned that their course might 
awaken the wrath of the officers. But, as it seems, they deemed it 
advisable to obey God rather than man, and continued their meeting 
till a late hour. The next morning, before they had time to get 
away, the four were apprehended and beaten, with several who had 
listened to them the night before. The preachers were then put into 
the stocks, and reserved for torture. In ten davs I heard acrain. 
The four had been liberated, but the officers had extorted a hundred 
and fifty rupees from the Christians. This sum had been promptly 
made up by voluntary contribution ; some giving one anna, some two, 
and some a rupee. Yet not a Karen in all that region has been bap- 
tized, except ' the young chief.' 

" On the 20th of November the assistant mentioned above came 
to me in Rangoon, pale and emaciated from disease. I asked him how 
he felt while they were beating him. ' Prayed for them.' — ' But were 
you not a little angry?' — 'No. I told them they might beat me to 
death, if they wished, but they would not make me angry, and that I 
should live again at the resurrection. At this they laughed, and, after 
beating me a little more, stopped.' Since that time he has been 
preaching in villages more remote from the Burmans, and has not 
been molested. The account he brinsrs of the work of the Lord in 
those regions surpasses every thing I have heard of among heathen 
nations in modern days ; and, if it be of God, it will stand." 

On Sundaj', Nov. 18, in Rangoon, Mr. Simons was an C3'e- 
witness of the dreadful scene which he describes below. It 
illustrates Boodhism, as well as the nature of Burmese govern- 
ment, and proves that the worst fears of the missionaries and 
the native converts were by no means groundless. The charge 
of rebellion was continually brought against the Karens, and it 
was on such a charge that these poor wretches (Burmans, proba- 
bly) were put to death. 

" The three men who are to be crucified to-day passed our house to 
the place of execution about ten, a.m. A number of officers and jail- 



28 BASSEIN KAREN MISS/ON. 

keepers, with their large knives and spears, were in attendance ; and 
a large concourse of people followed. Towards evening passed the 
place. Two of the men were still alive on their crosses, writhing in 
dreadful agony. Besides being nailed to the cross, each had a pointed 
thick stick, about two feet long, hammered down his throat. The 
man who was dead, I was informed, died instantly after the stick was 
hammered into his throat, and thus an end was put to his pains. I 
never had the idea of the agonies endured by persons nailed to the 
cross which I have had since I saw these two men with the nails in 
their feet and hands, saying, as well as they could to the bystanders. 
' I thirst: give water.' " 

Six days after this piece of savage cruelty Messrs. Abbott 
and Simons deemed it advisable to return for a season to the 
protection of the British flag in Maulmain. Their families had 
been sent thither three weeks before. The attempt to visit the 
poor sheep in the Bassein jungles must be indefinitely postponed. 
At the close of 1838 Abbott writes from Maulmain : — 

" Notwithstanding my apprehensions and anxieties for what the 
Karen Christians have suffered, and are likely still to suffer, I expe- 
rience a chastened joy, and woidd devoutly praise Him who is the 
head of the church for the manifestations of his presence and his 
power. Under circumstances the most alarming, we have witnessed 
the exhibition of all that is consistent and lovely in Christian character. 
Before magistrates and rulers, in prisons and in chains, have we seen 
bright evidence of the power of the gospel of Christ, and cheering 
promise of the triumph of the truth. In the great contest between 
the sons of Belial, cruel and blood-thirsty on the one hand, and the 
sons of God, meek and in chains on the other, — thanks be to God ! — 
that truth has not faltered, and that the enemies of God have been 

amazed. 

'O Jesus ! ride on : 

Thy kingdom is glorious. 
O'er sin, death, and hell 
Thou wilt make us victorious.' " 

Rangoon, the only mission-station in Burma Proper at that 
time, was thus abandoned. The churches that had been gath- 
ered, and thousands of interesting inquirers, were now left em- 



CLOUDS. — "THE YOUNG CHIEF." 29 

phatically, "as sheep without a shepherd, — to be scattered 
and destroyed, or to be preserved by a gracious and almighty 
Redeemer, to witness to the truth of his declarations, that his 
power is infinite, and his presence with his disciples constant to 
the end." The wrath of the enemy was aroused, and he seemed 
read}- to destroy the scattered flock to the uttermost. If any 
thing would appease that wrath, it would seem to be the cessa- 
tion, for a season, of direct efforts by foreign teachers for the 
extension of their faith in Burman territory. The step taken 
by the two brethren, therefore, of withdrawing to Maulmain, 
was undoubtedly a wise one. We quote a few lines from Mr. 
Abbott's letter of April 2, 1839 : — 

" The country around Rangoon has been in a dreadful state of 
excitement since we left. A spirit of rebellion is abroad in the land. 
The woondouk has slaughtered his countrymen, whom he calls rebels, 
with a merciless hand, seeking the most inhuman instruments of tor- 
ture and death. Oh, when will the reign of blood be succeeded by 
the mild reign of the Prince of peace ! I received a letter, a few days 
since, from one of the Karen assistants at Maubee, saying that the 
Christians were suffering no more than others. Persecution for the 
gospel's sake has been succeeded by oppression and plunder, in which 
all Karens suffer alike. He says that he has no hope that the country 
will be quiet for a long time to come, requests me to come and visit 
them if possible, and concludes with, ' Pray for us.' My heart bleeds 
at every recollection of the sorrows and wrongs of that ill-fated and 
long-oppressed people. Our consolation is, that Christ, the good 
Shepherd, knoweth his own, and will heal all their sorrows, and guide 
them safe home to glory." 

It will be remembered that one Bassein man only, Shway 
Weing, " the young chief," had at this time put on Christ by 
baptism. Much had been done, however, in the way of pub- 
lishing the gospel ; and the good work begun was still spreading 
like wildfire. Among the earliest men sent over by Abbott to 
Bassein to preach, and teach the Karens to read God's word, 
we would rescue from oblivion the names of Man Mway, Mau- 
koh, and Shway Sah. To them, and others like them, Mau 



30 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

Yay, INlyat Keh, and other natives of Bassein, joined themselves 
as disciples, and, soon learning all that their teachers had to 
impart, became, in turn, most zealous and useful preachers of 
the Word. So great was the desire for more teachers, that 
a formal call was sent at this time by the unbaptized Christians 
of Bassein to Oung Bau, one of the trusted Rangoon preachers, 
to come and live with them, and break unto them the bread of 
life. If he had gone, doubtless he would have lived on the fat 
of the land. Even in advance of these heralds of the cross, 
the Karens began to worship in many places. Shway Bau, 
pastor of the church in Nyomau, gives a dramatic description 
of the first attempts of these sincere but grossly ignorant people 
to worship like Christians : — 

" The first that we heard about the new religion was, that Shway 
Weing had begun to worship God. Then we heard that he had a little 
book that told about God and the way to worship him ; and straight- 
way we had so strong a desire to see the book, that we could hardly 
stay at home, and we were talking about it, and wishing to see it, all 
the time. By and by we got a book, and one looked at it, and another 
looked at it, and said it was very nice; and then we looked at it again, 
one after another ; and then we held it up between our hands, and 
worshipped it, and said to the book, ' O Lord ! O Lord ! ' for we thought 
that God was in the book. It was a long time ago, teacher, when we 
did not know any thing at all. 

" After a while, some of us learned to read the book ; and it said 
that we must not worship idols. Then some were much afraid, and 
said, ' What shall we do? If we cannot worship idols, the Burmans 
will persecute and destroy us.' — 'It is no matter,' answered others. 
' If they do kill our bodies, they cannot hurt the soul, for God will take 
care of that.' The little book said that we must worship God continu- 
ally: so, after we learned that God was not in the book, but in heaven, 
we used to meet together, and worship in this way: we all pulled off 
our turbans, and piled them in a heap in the centre, and then pulled 
our hair down over our faces [Karen men wear long hair] ; and then 
one would pray, and another would pray, till all had prayed three 
times. We also thought, that, if we prayed till the tears dropped, 
there was great merit in it : so sometimes one would pray a while, and 
look up to another, and ask, 'Do you see the tears starting?' And 



CLOUDS. — "TEE YOUNG CEIEF." 31 

if he said, ' No,' then he would pray again very hard ; and, when one 
or two drops had fallen, he would say to another, ' Now you pray, 
for I am happy a little.' It was a long time ago, teacher, when we 
did not know any thing at all. 

"And, if the mosquitoes bit us while we were praying, we thought 
there was merit in permitting them to bite us, and so we did not brush 
them off. They would bite until we writhed this way and that, and 
our bodies were covered with blotches. It was a long time ago, 
teacher, when we did not know any thing at all. 

" We were taught by the book that we must not make feasts to 
the nats ; but we thought we ought to make feasts to God: so this 
one and that one would make a great feast, and invite his friends and 
neighbors to come, and eat to the honor of God. And, when the 
guests had eaten all they could, the host would give portions to each, 
as they returned, saying, ' We make sacrifice to the Lord God ' [P'mah 
boo K'sah Ywah] ; and we thought there was great merit in doing so. 

" Then we heard that Christ would come again soon, and that, 
when he came, he would give to his disciples great treasures and 
power. So one would say to another, ' Throw away your brass and 
tin ornaments and your cotton waist-cloths ; for, when Christ comes, 
he will give us an abundance of silver and gold, and fine silk clothing.' 
This they said everywhere when we first began to worship God. But 
in some villages they did another thing : they said among themselves, 
1 These rice-pots and eating-dishes we used when we worshipped nats : 
they must be defiled.' So they broke them in pieces, and bought new 
ones, that they might retain nothing which was connected with nat 
and idol worship. It was twelve years ago, teacher, when we did not 
know any thing at all. But since the teacher came, and told us what 
the customs of Christ's disciples are, and gave us the Holy Book to 
read for ourselves, we have worshipped God correctly." 

During this period of painful suspense, Mr. Abbott was not 
idle. He travelled among the Karens of Maulmain : and, be- 
tween April and September, he relieved Messrs. Howard and 
Vinton alternately of the charge of the Burman and Karen 
boarding-schools. Meanwhile, through the extreme forbearance 
of the English, the threatened war was averted for a time. 
The Burmans, as always, attributing this forbearance to con- 
scious weakness, increased in their hauteur and overbearing inso- 



32 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

leuce. It seems to have occurred to the viceroy of Rangoon, 
however, that, under the circumstances, it might be as well 
for him to cultivate more friendly relations with the Americans. 
He therefore went so far as to send an urgent invitation to 
Messrs. Kincaid and Abbott to come back to his city. Accord- 
ingly, on the 4th of November, almost a year after the departure 
of the missionaries, these brethren arrived in Rangoon. The 
governor gave them a courteous and even friendly reception, 
and pressed them again to settle in their old quarters with their 
families. During their stay of about fort}' days, many of the 
Karen Christians found their way to them, of whom Kincaid 
writes : — 

" They would come by twenties if we had not sent them word that 
it would be imprudent, and expose them to fines and imprisonment, and 
possibly to death. Some who had been bound with cords, and beaten 
till nearly senseless, for iireaching Christ and the resurrection, came 
to see us. Often, when we returned from an evening walk, we would 
find four or five, or seven or eight, in our room, nearly worn out with 
their long march through the heat of the sun. Still they would sit 
up till after midnight, asking questions about Christian doctrines and 
duties, and difficult passages of Scripture. Even at that time of night 
it was not easy to get away to sleep, they were so eager to have every 
thing obscure made plain. Some of these are assistants, who have 
from twenty to sixty families each under their care. They are pas- 
tors, as well as preachers ; each one, in his own parish, visiting from 
house to house, reading the Scriptures, and praying with the sick, 
conducting public worship en the sabbath, preaching to the unevangel- 
ized, and performing the rite of marriage according to Christian usage. 
They are not ordained, and therefore do not administer the ordinances. 
But they are God's anointed ones ; and we have no doubt, that, in 
time, they will become efficient pastors and evangelists. It would 
be imprudent now to intrust them with power to baptize. They must 
have more instruction in 'the mysteries of the kingdom,' more ex- 
perience, and more knowledge of character, or there would be danger 
of their filling up the church with mere nomiual Christians. Two 
of the young men who were in irons and the stocks last year are 
now sitting near me, reading the Xew Testament. Both of them are 
fine, active young men." 



CLOUDS. — "THE YOUNG CHIEF." 33 

Of the work in Bassein, Abbott writes thus : — 

" Shortly after my arrival in Rangoon several assistants came in to 
see me from Pantanau and Bassein, where they had spent several 
months. The reports they brought were of the most cheering char- 
acter. The Pantanau church is walking in the fear of the Lord and 
in the comfort of the Holy Ghost, and very many in the surrounding 
villages have turned to the Lord during the year. In Bassein, Shway 
"VVeing continues to be as actively engaged in doing good as ever. 
His house is a great bethel, a temple of God, whither the people resort, 
from villages far and near, to learn to read, and how to worship God. 
He is the only baptized person in that region, and consequently the 
only one who can be reckoned a church-member. How many there 
are who would be considered proper subjects of baptism, it is impos- 
sible to say. The assistants think there are from six hundred to a 
thousand decided Christians. Although but one has been baptized, 
still the line of demai'cation between those who serve God and those 
who serve him not is distinctly drawn ; and generally there exists 
on the part of those who reject the gospel a bitter hatred towards 
the Christians. In fact, the Karen converts fear their own country- 
men who are enemies to the gospel more than Burman officers. 
Sometimes, even in families, there exists deadly opposition ; and not 
only are ' a man's foes they of his own household,' but they are often 
his bitterest foes. Notwithstanding, I know of several villages where 
the people are all decidedly Christian; and, although it has been 
denied [by Malcom] that there are whole villages which have turned 
to God, yet, if he will take a trip with me into the Karen jungles, I 
will show him several such." 

The missionaries went back to Maulmain with the intention 
of returning shortly, with their families, to live and labor for 
their Master, under the nominal protection of their newly found 
friend in Rangoon. Meantime, however, the viceroy himself 
experienced one of those sudden vicissitudes of fortune to which 
the favorites of a tyrant are always exposed. He was sum- 
moned to go, in disgrace, to Ava, and perhaps to the death- 
prison. A most brutal and ignorant foe to foreigners was 
appointed to his place. From this time the relations of the 
two governments were more strained than ever. War might be 



34 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

declared any day or hour. Despairing of obtaining a place to 
do Christian work in Burman territory, Abbott, at the close of 
1839, is turning his thoughts to Arakan. With the quick eye 
and prompt decision of a leader, he determines upon " a change 
of base." 

While the record of 1839 is brief, owing to the scanty efforts 
of man in the field under review, who cau measure the deepen- 
ing and ever-widening work wrought that year by the unaided 
Spirit of Omnipotence on thousands of plastic hearts in the un- 
explored jungles of Bassein? In how many remote corners of 
the " Dark Continent " to-day, may a similar work of prepar- 
ation be progressing, to be revealed only when the preacher 
shall find them peoples " prepared for the Lord " ? 



CHAPTER III. 



1840, 1841. 



" Not many wise after the flesh, not many mighty, not many noble, are 
called." — Pacl. 

The history of the Bassein mission, beginning from this time, 
maybe divided into three periods : first, from 1840 to 1852, the 
period of ingathering by native agents, from a remote base in 
British territory ; second, 1852-69, the period of home-mission 
work, in which the churches were multiplied, and instructed in 
the way of God more perfectly, from Bassein itself, the natu- 
ral centre ; third, 1869-80, the period of school-building, and 
the beginning of systematic effort for foreign missions. We 
now enter upon the first of these periods, a time in which God 
wrought mightily through Abbott and his faithful Karen assist- 
ants, as well as by his own angel of death and by the Pharaohs 
of that time and country. 

The eastern or Arakan coast of the Bay of Bengal has long 
had an evil name, second only to the corresponding west coast 
of Africa. From 1824 to 1852, however, this narrow strip of 
hot, marshy territory, became an asylum, a land of promise to 
the oppressed Karens of Burma Proper. The British flag that 
waved over it tempered the heat, and so palliated the fever 
and other ills, that the}- became endurable, if not welcome. 
Sandoway was probably the least unhealthy of the towns on 
that coast ; but, between it and the Karens of Bassein, there lay 
many long marches through a sickly, weary land. Four passes 
over the coast-hills are still used, to some extent, by the mis- 
sionaries and the people of Bassein, to reach the former " cities 

35 



36 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

of refuge" by the sea; viz., the Bauinee Pass, on the north, 
by which Mr. Abbott made the journey detailed iu Chap. vi. ; 
the Khyouugthah Pass, easiest of all, and most travelled by the 
Karens; the Kg'Kwat, most difficult of all, as the author can 
testify from hard experience ; aud the Poloung Pass, iu the 
south. When the oppression became unendurable, the Karens 
would flee, over these and other hill-roads, to the protection of 
Christian England. At length the Burman rulers would become 
loath to lose subjects so industrious aud peaceable as the 
Karens. It would not enhance their reputation at Ava to have 
it known that thousands of the best tax-payers in the country 
were running over the border, to the hated foreigner. And 
thus it came to pass, in time, that the mere fact that such an 
asylum was open became a powerful check upon the oppressor. 
But for the time there was an exodus ; aud fever and cholera 
were to do their terrible work among the poor fugitives, and 
the heart of their teacher was to be often wrung; with anguish, 
before those days of woe and spiritual purification should be 
overpast. 

The Abbotts left Maulmain on the 11th of February, 1840, 
in the Company's steamer Ganges. "With them were the Kin- 
caids, bound for Akyab, Ko Thahbyu, already the aged 
"Karen apostle," and two of Abbott's old Rangoon students, 
Hton Bvu and Mau Ya}-, 1 who fell into prison, and became 
pagoda slaves, with Shway Weing in 1838. Arriving at Sando- 
way on the 17th of March, Mr. Abbott writes as follows, under 
date of April 1 : — 

" As I wrote you, it was my intention to return to Rangoon with 
my family, in the hope of doing something among the Karens in a 
quiet way ; but, the British Resident having retired from the country 

1 This Man Yay (not to be confounded with the equally excellent pastor 
of Kyootoo, Bassein) was ordained in May, 1S53, and lived to become a 
pillar of strength among the Rangoon Karen churches. On the evening of 
the last day of the year (1863), as we were at worship in his chapel at 
Eaytho (p. 17), a messenger came in breathless, with the tidings that the 
pastor had been accidentally shot. The writer hastened out to meet the 



A CHANGE OF BASE. 37 

altogether, I became more fully convinced than ever of the impossi- 
bility of doing any thing for the Karens, under the present government, 
without involving them in suffering more serious than they have yet 
experienced. Missionaries and all other foreigners can remain there 
with perfect safety to their persons and property. They always could, 
indeed, except in case of war ; and then all foreigners are imprisoned 
and maltreated alike, without reference to character or profession. 
Very soon after the removal of the Resident, I received a letter from 
a British merchant still there, stating that all intercourse between 
foreigners and the natives was strictly prohibited. Such being the 
case, a missionary might as well be in Boston, as not an individual 
would dare to call at his house. . . . 

" I hesitated for some time between two courses. The one was to 
go into the country, itinerate and preach among the people, and leave 
the consequences. If persecution and death followed in my train, be 
it so ; submit all to the Lord. I did not forget, however, that there is 
but one step between a ' zeal according to knowledge ' and the most 
palpable presumption. The other course was to try to effect the same 
object by sending native assistants with letters of encouragement and 
love ; men who could travel among their countrymen, and preach the 
gospel, without being suspected of political designs ; men who, under- 
standing the rudiments of Christianity, and their hearts set on the 
work, should be capable of instructing and building up the converts 
in the faith of the gospel. I have chosen this latter course, as afford- 
ing greater promise of usefulness, with the least hazard and difficulty. 

" Having adopted this plan, it only remained for me to select the 
most eligible location for its accomplishment. To think of reaching 
the Karens in the Barman Empire from Tenasserim is out of the 
question. Arakan, from its extensive frontiers adjoining Burma, 
seemed to be the only place where I could hope to enjoy the facilities 
I desired. . . . Sandoway is a small Burman town fifty miles south 
of Ramree, on a small river, about fourteen miles from the sea as the 
river runs, or five in a direct course. The town is reputed healthy, 
and, from its location, I should judge would sustain its reputation. 
It has about four thousand inhabitants. From all I can gather on 



litter; but the good man's spirit had already gone to God. Only the even- 
ing before, he had read for singing Mrs. Vinton's beautiful imitation of " The 
day is past and gone." So soon for him had come the night of death, and 
rest in the bosom of divine love. 



38 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

the spot, the Karens in Arakan itself are about equal in number to 
those in Tavoy and Mergui ; [They are much fewer now. — Ed.] and 
the facility of reaching them is about the same. There is this weighty 
consideration, however, the Arakan fever, which renders it hazardous 
to travel in the jungles at all. I have been admonished that I must 
not think of travelling here with the impunity that one might in 
Tenasserim. 

" There is a Karen village, five or six miles from this town, where 
Ko Thahbyu has been preaching since our first arrival ; but the people 
are surprisingly stupid and indifferent. ... I have sent Man Yay 
and Hton Byu to Bassein and Rangoon with letters to the disciples. 
They will go from this place to Gwa, a small town on the coast, five 
days south. Three days thence, across the mountains which form 
the boundary, will bring them into the Burman Empire and into the 
vicinity of Christian villages. They will endeavor to persuade some 
of the young men who commenced studying with me in Rangoon, 
and were scattered by the persecution, to come over, and study with 
me, during the rains, in this place. Although the passes are strictly 
guarded by Burman officers, to prevent emigration, I hope that a few 
at least of those young men will escape their vigilance, and make their 
way into this land of liberty, where they may enjoy the benefits of 
Christian instruction without having to pay for it the price of impris- 
onment and chains. If, however, my messengers should be suspected 
themselves, and even thrown into prison, it would be nothing new to 
them, as they were of the four who were sent to the pagoda as slaves, 
two years ago in Rangoon. I shall feel a good deal of anxiety about 
them till their return." 

The journal which follows will be read with interest : — 

" March 30. — Visited a small Karen village a few miles from town. 
The people treated us with contempt, not only refusing to listen to 
any thing we had to say, but even denying us admission to their 
houses. To get out of the scorching sun, I ventured to enter the only 
house in the village which had any thing like a seat. It was occupied 
by a lazy-looking fellow, who, on being requested by my assistant, 
refused to rise, or to give us any accommodation. We made our way 
to another house, and took a seat on the floor, i.e., on a few bamboos 
laid across each other, with openings very convenient for falling 
through. During the day I tried in vain to get a hearing. How dark 
and stupid is the heathen mind I 



A CHANGE OF BASE. 39 

"April 10. — Moung Koo (Maukoh, pp. 2G, 27), a Karen assistant 
from Maubee, made his appearance to-day with other Karens, who 
have come eight days' journey. They had heard of my arrival from 
the two messengers. Several are to remain and study : others come 
to be baptized, and are to return in a few days. A few of them live 
in this province, but most of them in Burma. We had begun to 
despair of seeing any of our Bassein friends at Sandoway, but joy 
and hope have succeeded. The mountain passes afford a highway for 
the Christians on the other side, which I hope they will not be slow 
to improve. It is a long and arduous journey ; but the anxiety of the 
Karens to get books, to learn to read, and to be baptized, will induce 
them to surmount every obstacle, so that I still hope to get a class of 
young men for the rains. No women, of course, can come such a 
distance. 

" 11th, Sabbath. — Sixteen Karens at worship, several of whom are 
asking for baptism; but, as they are to remain a week, I prefer to 
delay a little. 

"12th. — Commenced school with a class of eight young men. 
More are on their way, and will be here in a few days. 

"13th. — Seventeen more Karens arrived to-day, from a village one 
day this side of Bassein, several of whom I saw during my visit to 
that region two years ago. They were ten days on the way. 

" U+th. — Thirty-four Karens at worship, four others having just 
come in. One of them is a member of the Pantanau church. His 
accounts of the Christians there are very satisfactory. Not a case of 
backsliding, not one of discipline, in the church since we left. The 
Burman rulers seem disposed to let them alone. 

" 18th, Sabbath. — Sixty Karens to-day ; Mau Yay having just 
returned with thirty-one others, whom he gathered in the jungles. 
Some are asking for baptism : others will remain and study. At the 
close of the day I baptized twelve, who came first, all of whom have 
professed to be Christians for more than a year. They all gave good 
evidence of a change of heart and life; and their coming so far to 
obey the command of Christ is indicative of their zeal. 

" Among the number baptized was a young man named Bleh Po, 
whose history and experience are of unusual interest. He first heard 
the gospel during my visit to Bassein in December, 1837. Shortly 
after, I saw him in Rangoon, gave him books, and he learned to read. 
ITe immediately embraced the truth, and, to appearance, with all his 
heart. His wife and relatives, however, used all manner of devices to 



40 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

turn him from the faith. Not long after his conversion his little 
child, two years old, was taken very ill, and, as a matter of course, his 
relatives charged him with being the cause ; x that is, he had forsaken 
their religion, and the child's guardian demon was taking vengeance. 
As the custom is in such cases, they besought him to offer a sacrifice 
to this devil to appease his wrath. Bleh Po steadily refused, saying 
that he trusted in God, and had renounced the worship of devils. In 
a few days his child died. His friends then entered a complaint 
against him to the Burman ruler. He was apprehended, and arraigned 
in open court, in the presence of a crowd who were waiting to see the 
end. Among other charges was this : ' Bleh Po has a foreigner's book, 
and has embraced a foreign religion.' The judge, among other ques- 
tions, asked what was in the book. Bleh Po thereupon gave an out- 
line of the doctrines of the gospel, at the same time exposing the folly 
of idolatry and all heathen superstitions. The magistrate remarked 
that what he had said was good, but, if he did not take notice of the 
case, it would come to the ears of the king, and he himself would lose 
his life. Bleh Po replied, ' Don't you fear : send me up to the king, 
and let me answer for myself, or suffer.' He was released without 
fine, imprisonment, or stripes, and returned to his family ; but it was 
to meet their execrations, rendered more malignant by defeat. They 
cursed him, charging him with the murder of his own child, and 
threatening to kill him. To this, the only answer he deigned to give 
was, 'If you do not kill me, I shall die myself soon.' To all their 
reviliugs he opposed a spirit of humility and patience, admonishing 
them on fit occasions, continuing firm in his profession, and showing 
the majesty of a meek and quiet spirit. Thus he triumphed. His 
wife and several of his relatives are now praying, consistent Chris- 
tians, and his enemies are speechless. 

" That magistrate has ever since favored the Christians. He has 
heard the gospel more fully from Bleh Po, and has received Christian 
books. A short time since, an officer of high rank came down from 
the capital, and ordered him to put three or four Karen Christians to 
death, that, by that means, they might be brought back to the customs 
of their fathers. ' No,' says this man : ' they are our slaves, indeed, 
but they are quiet and peaceable, and pay their taxes ; and, if they 
wish to worship their God, let them do so.' 

1 A case exactly parallel to this occurred among the first Kakhyen con- 
verts in 1882. 



A CHANGE OF BASE. 41 

"There are several other petty officers in those regions who are 
friendly to the Christians, who have Christian books, and have listened 
to the gospel from Bleh Po. The Karens think that some of them 
are real Christians. One of the governors of Bassein, who left for 
the capital a short time since, is a baptized Christian, the Karens say. 1 
He was of good moral character, just, and universally beloved. Every 
Sunday he used to retire to his private apartments, and shut his door, 
allowing no court business on that day. He never worshipped idols, or 
celebrated the rites of Boodhism. I believe that he is a member of 
the Ava church. All these facts indicate the steady advance of truth, 
and its final triumph. 

" 19th. — This morning nineteen of my Karens left for their distant 
homes. They took all the books I had, and were anxious for more. 
It is astonishing how fast readers multiply. Some of them buy books 
of the Burmans. One man gave a rupee for a Burmese Testament ; 
another, a day's work for a tract. Mr. Howard hardly supposed, when 
he was distributing Burman books in Bassein, that he was doing it 
for Karen Christians. Number of students to-day thirty-six. 

"2^'Ji. — Three individuals arrived to-day from the Burman side, 
bringing letters from Hton Byu, one of the two whom I sent over. 
The poor man is very ill, and unable to return. The ' young chief ' 
wrote, also, that he was staying at home to take care of Hton Byu, and 
that he would come and see me directly on his recovery. In the 
mean time he wished me to ' lay aside ten or fifteen hundred books ' 
for his Christian friends. He will be disappointed in this. 

"25th, Sabbath. — At worship a company of Burmans came in, to 
whom I directed my discourse in their own language (though in a 
broken manner), and gave them books, which they promised to read. 
But a Burman's promise is not much to be relied upon. A good many 
from the villages around call, and receive books ; and Mrs. Abbott has 
almost daily visits from the women of the town, who come in and sit 
for hours, listening to the truth. Here is a promising field for a 
Burman missionary. 

"37th. — Eight of our number left us, among whom was Maukoh, 
the assistant from Rangoon. He was travelling and preaching among 



1 Moung Shway Moung, baptized in Ava the latter pajt of 1835, and sent 
down to Bassein from the capital, in 1S37. See Dr. Kincaid's letter, Mis- 
sionary Magazine, March, 1841, p. 02. Cf. Magazine, 1838, p 222, and 1840, 
p. 70. 



42 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

the villages in Bassein, when he heard of my arrival at Sandoway, and 
immediately came to see me. 

"2Slh. — Followed to the tomb the remains of a poor old man. He 
was one of the first company who came to be baptized. The long and 
difficult journey and the extreme heat were too much for him : he was 
taken sick, and sunk quietly away. It would have been a satisfaction 
to his relatives could he have been baptized. But, instead of following 
the footsteps of the Son of man into the watery grave, he has found 
a resting-place beneath 'the clods of the valley.' His spirit, I trust, 
has ascended up on high, and now enjoys the full measure of that 
' glory laid up,' of which he but lived to get a glimpse on earth. He 
had been a Christian about a year. Three of my students also are 
suffering from dysentery, and thirteen are prostrated with fever, all 
under our own roof. 

"It is singular that Karens coming from the interior jungles to the 
seashore are nearly every one attacked with some malignant disease. 
More than half of the students have already been down with fever : 
some are convalescent, others very ill. I attribute it to the change 
from Burma to Arakan. They all live in the delta of the Irrawaddy, 
— a country, I believe, much more healthy than this. Their long 
journey in this hot season, with the exposure and privations, has 
doubtless contributed to produce so many cases of fever. I have the 
services of the hospital physician, a native, who also supplies me with 
medicine. Otherwise, what should I do ? 

" SOlh. — Another company of six arrived from Burma. They met 
those who left on the 19th, at a Christian village near the mountains. 
Several of them sunk down by the way, through the intense heat, and 
were carried to that village on the shoulders of the strong. They will 
remain there until recmited, before crossing the mountains. Four of 
those who came to-day wish to remain and study, but my schoolroom 
is a hospital. My buildings are not sufficient for so large a boarding- 
school : the rains are upon us, and it is too late to build. 

" May 5. — Four of the six who last arrived set out on their 
return this morning, one of whom I baptized yesterday. More than 
two years ago this man was called before an officer, and beaten, for 
holding religious meetings at his house. Two small books also were 
taken from him. Very soon after, said officer was taken ill. It came 
to him at once, that the Karen whom he had beaten had bewitched 
him ; and he immediately sent back his books. But it did not avail : 
the poor man died. Of course, it was clear that the Karen had killed 



A CHANGE OF BASE. 43 

him by some wicked enchantment. The officer's relations believe it 
to this day, and not a few of the Karen Christians think that he died 
so suddenly because he had abused a Christian. The Burmans since 
then have let that Christian alone. He is a firm, intelligent man, con- 
ducts public worship in his village, and itinerates occasionally. As 
he pi-omises to be useful, I have admitted him among the number of 
the assistants. 

"8th. — Hton Byu and Shway Weing arrived to-day, having thirty 
in their train. They were twelve days on the way, sometimes without 
food, travelling through the heat of the day, and sleeping on the 
ground. Some of them were taken with fever : some fainted from 
exhaustion, and were left in the rear, to come on as they are able. 
Fifty or sixty started, but nearly one-half gave out. Several came to 
study. I really cannot send them back, and yet I see not how I can 
accommodate them. 

"10th, Sabbath. — Baptized eleven of those who came in last. 
Twenty of them will return to-morrow, leaving twelve. This will 
make my class fifty, as I anticipated. Six are boys under sixteen, the 
remaining forty-four between that age and thirty. I pray the God 
of Israel, that we may all enjoy health and the light of his counte- 
nance, and that these young men may be taught the knowledge of 
the Lord, and established in the gospel. 

" 13th. — From a small village near by, a company of men and 
boys, and a few young girls, came in, seeking admission to the school. 
They cannot be received. I send them back, and a student with them 
to establish a day-school in their own village. These first heard the 
gospel since our arrival here. Their coming to school is a strong evi- 
dence of their interest, as no Karen would take such a course, were he 
not disposed to become a Christian. Some of them are now asking 
for baptism." 

Dr. Kincaid, with his warm heart always enlisted in behalf of 
the Karens, writes at this time, of the work begun in Bassein, 
as follows : — 

" All the men who have come over the hills represent the work as 
still going on, spreading from village to village in every direction. 
. . . The full extent of this revival we do not know, but enough has 
been learned to convince us that it is an extraordinary display of 
divine grace. Probably more than two thousand souls are turned 



44 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

from the worship of demons to the service of the living God. This, 
too, has taken place under the jealous and intolerant reign of the new 
King. It is God's glorious work." 

May 19 Mr. Abbott, in writing of the expenses of his school, 
and of his design to employ eighteen assistants in Burma and 
San do way, whom he had already selected, and was about locat- 
ing, says, — 

" Nearly all these assistants are at the head of large Christian con- 
gregations, and are, in fact, pastors, except in administering the ordi- 
nances. ... As to how many Christians there are, I dare not tell 
what I think. There are baptized, near Maubee three hundred and 
twenty-three, at Pantanau forty-eight", and in Bassein twenty-seven. 
The last are widely scattered, and are principally heads of villages, 
and leaders of Christian congregations. As to the entire number of 
nominal Christians, some of the assistants- think there are four thou- 
sand; but, as I have no data on which to found a satisfactory estimate, 
I can give no opinion." 

In the same letter, after asking for the very moderate appro- 
priation of Rs. 1,1)21, * for the support of his theological school 
and eighteen assistants through the year, he adds, kC I hope, in 
time, to succeed in introducing the system of each congregation 
supporting its own pastor ; but this will require time and the 
fostering care of a beneficent Providence." Thus early had 
this New-Testament principle fastened itself in the brain of the 
founder of the Bassein mission, but the expression of it was 
not allowed. The sentence was put in brackets, and then in a 
pigeon-hole foily-three years, — why, we cannot imagine. 

Again Mr. Abbot found himself, as in Rangoon, dangerously 
cramped for room for his school of fifty pupils. He writes : — 

" As I arrived too late in the season to make suitable preparations 
for so large a boarding-school, we are very much straitened for room, 
and are compelled to convert our dwelling into a schoolroom, sleeping- 

1 The rupee, at par of exchange, is about forty-five cents; an anna, nearly 
three cents. 



A CHANGE OF BASE. 45 

room, and chapel for nearly all our students. In consequence of being 
so crowded, we have already had a good many cases of fever. Still I 
hope to be able to keep all my students this season." 

At the same time, in view of their freedom from Burrnan 
oppression, he writes exultingly : — 

" Thanks be to God, we have no such fears here. Under the Brit- 
ish flag we are safe. The students can show themselves iu the streets 
here, without apprehension or alarm. No self-conceited barbarian 
parades here with a band of minions at his heels ready to 'do his 
bidding. Here is no spy, gazing around to detect a ' foreigner's disci- 
ple.' Here no chains, no prison, for the followers of the Lord Jesus. 
How sweet are the blessings of civil and religious liberty! Who can 
appreciate them, but those who have dwelt in a land of relentless 
despotism? In the Burman Empire, my class of young men could 
not be kept together three days." 

His hopes of a prosperous term were doomed to a sad dis- 
appointment. Dysentery followed the fever, and then cholera 
with all its terrors ; the result being the death of five young 
men in quick succession. To diminish the danger, thirty were 
dismissed, to return to their distant homes, in the height of the 
rains. Those who remained made rapid progress in their stud- 
ies, and gave evidence of their being sincere followers of Jesus. 
From the time of Mr. Abbott's arrival, until the close of school 
(the first week in September) , he had baptized fifty-one. In two 
Karen villages near Sandowa} T , where there had been indifference 
and opposition, signs of good were beginning to appear. In 
closing his letter on the 10th of September, he writes : — 

" Ko Thahbyu, our native assistant, died yesterday. He has been 
one of the most laborious and successful preachers in the Karen mis- 
sion. His work is done, and he has gone to his rest." 

The year 1841 opens with threatenings of the enemy, and 
with the exaction of heavy fines, far beyond .the ability of the 
poor Christians to pay. Before its close, King Tharrawady 
leaves his capital, and proceeds in barbaric state to Rangoon. 



46 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

He was attended by an army of a hundred thousand men. The 
public prints of that time state that a fleet of from fifteen 
thousand to eighteen thousand boats was required to convey 
his retinue and soldiers with their impedimenta. Whether his 
purpose was war or peace could only be conjectured. The 
whole country was again full of warlike rumors and excitement. 
Although nothing came of it, the Governor General deemed it 
prudent to despatch armed vessels and additional troops to 
Maulmain. Amid all, the work of God goes on in the hearts 
of the rude men and women of Bassein. In a private letter, 
written in April, Mr. Abbott remarks : — 

" We labor under difficulties and privations at Sandoway, arising 
from climate and location ; and the constant exposure of the Karens 
in Burma to persecution adds to our sorrows ; but, when we see the 
'stately steppings of the God of hosts,' our light afflictions are swal- 
lowed up in joy." 

His journal accompanying this letter follows : — 

"Dec. S4, 18^0. — Commending my wife and son to the care of 
that God whom we serve, left Sandoway at ten, p.m., yesterday, for a 
visit to the Karens on the eastern frontier of this province. Am 
indebted to the kindness of Dr. Morton, assistant commissioner, for 
the use of his schooner free of expense. As the sailors required none 
of my aid or advice, I enjoyed a quiet night in my berth. Awoke at 
daylight to find myself far from land. 

"The coast presents a succession of broken hills, covered with jun- 
gle, apparently one vast wilderness; the Arakan mountains rearing 
their majestic heads, in the distance, above the dense clouds which 
hang around their base. There are villages along the coast ; but they 
are few. Situated on the streams which flow from the mountains, 
and surrounded by trees, they cannot be seen from the sea. In many 
places, the hills extend down to the shore; and, not unfrequently, 
high rocky points project into the sea for a mile or more, making 
navigation dangerous. Where the coast is level, it is mostly covered 
with mangrove-trees, and at high tides with salt water. From these 
marshes, which cover a great part of the level lands of Arakan, a 
miasma arises, which is impregnated with fever, cholera, and death. 

"25ih. — During the night the wind was high, and the schooner 



A CHANGE OF BASE. 47 

rolled so, that it was somewhat difficult to keep in my berth. Weighed 
anchor at daylight ; and, the wind being still favorable, our little bark 
bounded over the waves in grand style, till two, p.m., when we an- 
chored in the mouth of the river, off Gwa. The little town is on the 
north bank of the river, near the sea, and, being surrounded with 
cocoanut-trees and shrubbery, is altogether a charming spot. Here 
are, perhaps, a hundred families, all Burmese. A plain extends back 
to the hills a mile or more, and up the coast ten or twelve miles, 
which is dotted with hamlets. The land is good, and affords an 
inviting field for cultivation and pasturage. I lodge in a small zayat 
erected on the beach for the Commissioner of Arakan, who is expected 
here soon. There is great excitement in Bassein, from the Karens 
learning to read ' the white book,' which the Burmans consider quite 
equal to open rebellion. ... I find here books and tracts which came 
from missionaries in Rangoon. Many of them are i - ead ; and, away 
in this wilderness, many persons are acquiring a knowledge of the 
Lord. In Bassein the officers lately made search, both among Karens 
and Burmans ; and a large number of [our] books were collected, and 
publicly burned. Still, there are many dispersed through the country, 
where they will remain safely concealed, I trust. 

"27th, Sabbath. — 'This is the day the Lord hath made;' but oh, 
how different are the scenes here witnessed from those in Christian 
lands ! One Karen Christian only with me during the day, who sits 
in a corner of the zayat, reading his Bible. A few people call at the 
door, and cautiously look in to gaze at the stranger. A Karen came 
in at evening, from a small village near, and asked for baptism. He 
and his wife are the only Christians in the village, all the others being 
decided opposers. As I remain near here for a few days, I deferred 
his baptism, so as to inquire further into his character. 

"28th. — As the larger Karen villages are still farther south, left 
Gwa early this morning, and, with a good breeze, anchored in the 
creek by the small Burman village Magezzin, at evening. [Map, 
Magyee syee.'] The Karen villages up the stream are known by the 
same name. It is too late to go to them to-night. 

" 29th. — At sunrise took a canoe, and in three hours reached a 
Karen village of fifteen families. The people immediately assembled 
in the house of the chief, which is used for worship. The gospel was 
"first preached here about two years ago. There' are Christians in 
every family. A few I have baptized at Sandoway : others have 
been waiting impatiently for me to visit them. An old chief from 



48 JBASSEJN KAREN MISSION. 

one of the nearest villages on the Burraan side informs me that the 
Karens in that section have been fined a large sum for learning to 
read 'the white book.' His share amounted to eighty-three rupees. 
He has come over to select a place, hoping to escape, with his people, 
from oppression. At evening, forty at worship : seventeen asked for 
baptism. 

"81st. — Baptized ten yesterday, and thirteen to-day. All live in 
this village. After the strictest inquiry, both in public and private, 
relative to their moral character, the evidences of their change of life 
were fully established. All have been Christians more than a year, 
and they have acquired an amount of Christian knowledge almost 
incredible. Myat Kyau, one of my best assistants, lives here, and is 
pastor of the church. He is a good man ; studied with me last rains, 
and is prepared to guide the people in the way of life. 

" Bleh Po came in from Burma during the day, with a company. 
He gives a more detailed account of the oppression near Bassein. 
Eleven Christian chiefs, whose names he mentions, have been ar- 
raigned, imprisoned, and fined for embracing our religion, and learn- 
ing to read. These chiefs are the magistrates, in petty matters, of 
their respective villages, under higher Burman officers, and are the 
patriarchs of their people. Some of them have sixty or eighty fami- 
lies ; others, only eight or ten, under their jurisdiction. Although 
they were fined in all Rs. 1,181, they deem it light, as most of their 
people are Christians, and contributed cheerfully to make up the 
amount. A question arises, whether they can consistently pay such 
fines. They have their choice, — to pay, or suffer. A refusal would 
be construed into open rebellion ; and woe to the man, in that land of 
despotism, on whom that accusation falls ! They are not required to 
give any pledge to worship the priests or pagodas, or to renounce their 
faith. When they were called before the governor, they were asked 
if they worshipped the foreigner's God, and read 'the white book.' 
'Yes,' replied one; 'and many of the Burmans also, your own people, 
read " the white book." : After a few similar questions, the governor 
told them that they were fined so much, and committed them to 
prison till the sum should be paid. They were treated with a good 
deal of kindness for prisoners in Burma. Tortures and death would 
probably have been the result, had they refused to pay the fine. Did 
the officers require them to renounce their religion, I think many' 
among the thousands of nominal Christians would equivocate to save 
their lives ; but a great many, I am confident, would suffer martyrdom 
with unwavering fortitude. 



A CHANGE OF BASE. 49 

"Jan. 1, 18^1. — This first day of the new year has been one of 
painful interest to me. Several assistants arrived in the morning from 
Bassein, having eluded the pursuers sent by the governor to apprehend 
them. They left their homes in the night, and made their way through 
the jungles to this place, where I had appointed a meeting four months 
ago. If they should be caught, new trials and sufferings await them. 
Preached at evening, to a large and intensely solemn congregation, 
from ' Christ the good shepherd.' 

" 2d. — Baptized eleven in the morning. In the afternoon, lectured 
to the assistants from Tit. i. 6-12. At sunset, held a meeting ; and 
nineteen asked for baptism. In the evening, expounded the parable 
of the tares. After the service my old companion, ' great heaviness 
of heart,' appeared. Not the first time I have invited such visits by 
attempting to pierce the gloomy cloud that overhangs the disciples of 
Jesus. 

"3d, Sabbath. — After morning service, baptized nineteen. A more 
solemn company of Karens I never saw together. Never did I enjoy 
such freedom in preaching to them the gospel. 

"4th. — In the morning Shway Weing arrived with several associ- 
ates. He has been wandering in the jungles eleven days to reach this 
place, when it is only four days in a direct course. A friendly Bur- 
man officer informed him some time since, that he must keep himself 
quiet, as the governor of Bassein had his eye particularly upon him 
as a leader of the Christians. As affairs became more threatening, 
he told Shway Weing, that, if he would save his life, he had better 
renounce his religion at once. Being assured that Shway Weing 
would never deny his Lord, come what would, he told him that he 
must flee. Soon after, learning that men were in pursuit of him, 
he left his family with a brother, and retreated to the back villages. 
His friends pulled clown his house at once ; and when the officers 
arrived, finding not even a habitation, they gave up the pursuit. 

"In conversing with Shway Weing, I asked him why he presumed 
to come to English territory to see me at this juncture, knowing, as 
he did, that the fact, if known, would aggravate his sufferings, in 
case of his apprehension. He replied, ' I wished to come and see the 
teacher's face, hear his voice, and go home and die.' 

" Baptized nine at noon, most of them from the Burman side. One 
is a brother of Bleh Po. During his examination, I asked him 
whether he would endure persecution, and, if necessary, suffer death, 
rather than deny his Lord. He hesitated, and rather thought that he 



50 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

should not do as Peter did. I asked him if he dare testify, before God 
and that congregation, that he would endure unto death. 'lam 
afraid, teacher : I dare not.' I needed not so solemn a declaration to 
convince me of the genuineness of his conversion, but had other rea- 
sons for wishing to elicit a direct answer. A large congregation were 
waiting in breathless silence and expectation; so that it was impossible 
for me to recede. I asked him the third time. He still hesitated. I 
pressed him for a reply. He bowed his face to the floor, and wept. 
The stillness of the grave pervaded the assembly. He raised his head, 
the tears rolling down his sable cheeks, and said, ' I think, — teacher, 
— I shall not deny the Lord, — if he gives me grace. I can say no 
more.' 

" It has fallen to my lot to baptize more than four hundred Karens 
since I have been in Burma; but never have I enjoyed such delightful 
seasons as during the last few days — our Jordan, a small stream 
running down from the mountains, overlooked by wild and beautiful 
scenery ; the congregations attentive, solemn, and joyful ; the dense 
forests resounding with songs of praise from a hundred happy con- 
verts plighting to Heaven their vows ; an emblematical grave, giving 
up its dead to ' newness of life ; ' the presence of the Lamb of God 
hallowing the scene, and setting upon his own ordinance the seal of 
divine love. God Almighty bless these converts, and preserve them 
blameless to the coming of the Lord with all his holy angels ! 

" At evening, after a farewell charge to the disciples, I entered a 
small canoe to return, all my assistants and many others ' accompany- 
ing me to the ship.' The hour had arrived when I was to part with 
those beloved men, and it was an hour of sadness. Most of them 
were to return to Bassein, ' not knowing the things that shall befall 
them there,' but assured 'that persecution and afflictions abide them.' 
They reluctantly shook my hand, one by one, saying, 'Pray for us,' 
and departed. My own feelings were indescribable. 

u 5tk.— After the assistants and people had left us last evening, I 
retired to my berth exhausted. A few minutes past nine we heard 
Karen voices on the shore. I went on deck, and found they had come 
a long distance to see me and be baptized. The vessel was anchored 
in the middle of the stream, without a boat. There was not a house, 
or a canoe even, on their side; and the Burrnan village opposite was 
some distance inland. The Karens called many times to the villagers 
to come and take them across, but in vain. With flint and steel, 
they struck a fire, concluding to sleep on the sand, and return in the 



A CHANGE OF BASE. 51 

morning;, unbaptized, after all their efforts, and after coming within 
the sound of the teacher's voice. Mothers and infant children were 
in the company. But Providence favored them. After an hour or 
more two women were seen on the opposite shore, to whom we called 
for aid. They launched a canoe, and finally ferried the Karens all 
over, two or three at a load ; then they took me ashore. We walked 
two miles to a Karen village, and found the assistants engaged in a 
prayer-meeting. I made inquiry relative to the applicants; and as 
several of the assistants could vouch for them, and all agreed, I bap- 
tized fifteen in a small stream near by. As there was a full moon 
and clear sky, we needed not the light of the sun. After commending 
them all to God, I left them, some time past midnight, and returned 
to my vessel. Awoke this morning at daylight, after a few hours' 
sleep, ' out to sea.' A severe headache reminded me of the exposure 
and fatigue of the previous evening, and I feared an attack of fever. 
A powerful dose of medicine has relieved my head, but prostrated my 
strength, so that, for the first time in my life, I have been really sea- 
sick. 

" 6t7i. — Amved at Gwa at two, p.m. Was glad to find Capt. Bogle, 
the Commissioner of Arakan. He has come down the coast to inquire 
into the condition of his people, hear complaints, and redress griev- 
ances. He invited me to dine with him, a privilege I gladly availed 
myself of, as I am rather short of provisions. Another applicant for 
baptism at evening. As he intends to see me soon at Sandoway, I 
deferred his request. 

"8th. — Sailed for home yesterday morning, accompanied by seven 
Karen boys who go to Sandoway to study. Wind changed at even- 
ing, and increased to such a degree, that, to human view, we were in 
peril of our lives. At sunset it blew with such violence directly 
against us, that we were obliged to ' go about,' and let our vessel drive. 
The boys were very seasick. The night continued very tempestuous, 
and we were emphatically ' in the deep.' The waves broke over us at 
a fearful rate. I ascribe our preservation to God's mercy. We were 
driven down the coast past Gwa, and found ourselves this morning 
where we were day before yesterday. The wind abating, we were 
able to use the oars, and at evening anchored at Gwa. I now return 
to Sandoway by land, my Karen boys preferring terra Jirma to the 
sea. 

9th. — Left Gwa mounted on a lame pony, which will hinder more 
than aid me, I fear. My saddle is something like my old grand- 



52 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

mother's ' pillion ; ' my bridle, a very good string. The Karen boys 
and the old Bengali cook follow in single file. In a civilized land we 
should present a somewhat grotesque appearance. Travelled over a 
fertile plain till eleven o'clock, when we came to half a dozen Karen 
houses, only one of which has a Christian family. Nearly all the 
people attended evening worship. 

"10th, Sabbath. — After morning service, examined and baptized 
three persons, — one from Bassein. Most of the villagers have become 
attached to Boodhism, and are decidedly opposed to the gospel. ' The 
kingdom of heaven has come nigh unto them.' 

"11th. — Started on our way at three, a.m. The light of the moon 
was soon obscured by overhanging branches. and foliage ; and we made 
but slow progress over the rocks, roots, and logs. At daylight, came 
out upon the beach, and found good travelling till nine o'clock, when 
we came to a small Burman village, and breakfasted. During the day, 
passed two or three hamlets only, around which are small fields; other- 
wise it is an impenetrable jungle, uninhabited, except by wild beasts. 
Were it not possible to travel on the beach, I see not how a path could 
be made from village to village. 

"12th. — Told the cook to call me at three, a.m. After a refresh- 
ing sleep, I heard, ' Sar, Sar,' and, on looking at my watch, found it 
only half-past one o'clock. Drank a cup of tea, ate a dry biscuit, and 
started. With a bright moon, it is more pleasant travelling on the 
beach by night than in the heat of the day. Passed a small village 
at five, a.m., where we struck a passable track through the jungle. 
"With the exception of one other hamlet, we saw not a sign of a human 
being or habitation all day. The trees are larger to-day; and, the 
boughs meeting overhead, we travel through the heat of the day with 
comfort. 

"13th. — Slept at a small village called Mee-gyoung-yeh, or the 
' Ferocious Alligator.' Started at three, a.m., as usual, taking the pre- 
caution to provide lights for the dense jungle through which we have to 
pass. At nine, a.m., all the Karen boys gave out ; and the old cook 
said that he could not keep up. I hired a Burman guide, determined, 
if possible, to reach home in the evening. At three, p.m., ate my 
dinner of dry bread, three weeks old, and told my guide I must reach 
Sandoway before I slept. He tried to dissuade me ; said we should 
have to lie out in the jungle among the tigers ; but, for a fair reward, 
he ventured to go along, and point out the way. Reached home at 
seven o'clock. The schooner which left Gwa when we did arrived 



A CHANGE OF BASE. 53 

two hours before me ; the Karen boys and the cook, a day later, two 
or three of them threatened with fever. 

"28th. — Mau Mway, one of the Rangoon assistants, and pastor at 
Ponau (p. 17), arrived to-day. I have not heard direct from Rangoon 
for several months, and am rejoiced to learn that the disciples are 
enjoying rest from persecution. There are several cases of discipline. 
Some who appeared well are halting; others, again, are coming out on 
the Lord's side, and are desirous of baptism. 

"Feb. 1. — Ilton Byu and Mau Yay returned to-day, after an ab- 
sence of five months. They went to Bassein, Pantanau, and Rangoon, 
and spent several weeks with their friends at Maubee. On their way 
back, they preached through the villages north of Maubee, crossed 
the Irrawaddy five days above Rangoon, came on across the country 
to the north of Bassein, crossed the mountains, and reached the Bay, 
three days south of Sandoway. They relate the success which at- 
tended their efforts with a smile of joy. 

"701, Sabbath. — Baptized twelve. They have all been with me a 
week, affording sufficient time for examination. Among the number 
is a little lad who ran away from his father's house to avoid being 
'pressed' into the service of the devil; his parents being confirmed 
' devil-eaters.' 

"9th. — Fourteen Christians left us for their distant homes in 
Bassein and Rangoon. I sent letters and circulars to the assistants. 
They took six hundred and fifty books to scatter among the reading 
people of the jungles. I left more than four thousand at Magezzin, 
which are all distributed, the greater number in Burma. 

"16th. — Myat Kyau and Oung Bail came in from Rangoon. 
About f orty-five days ago I sent the former on a tour to the east, to 
inquire into the state of the churches. He spent several days at Pan- 
tanau, visited Ko Thah-ay, the Burman pastor in Rangoon, and thence 
went to Maubee. Oung Ban, the pastor of the Karen-river church, 
one day north of the city, accompanied him on his return. They 
brought several letters, one from the Rangoon pastor. The old man 
enjoys tolerable health, preaches quietly, and encourages the few r dis- 
ciples there in the way of life. He speaks of excitement arising from 
the expectation and fears of the people relative to the visit of the 
king ; thinks it by no means desirable that a missionary visit Ran- 
goon at present. It is the prevailing opinion there,' that if the king, 
or his son, does come down to the lower country, the end will be a 
war with the English. 



54 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

" 23d. — Assistants returned to Rangoon. Have endeavored to 
impress it upon their minds that the// are to lead the host of God in 
Burma ; that they must not lean upon missionaries, but upon God. 
I am looking forward to the time when some of them will be deemed 
•worthy of ordination, that they may fully discharge the duties of pas- 
tors. My meetings, intercourse, and parting with these dear young 
men, have been most solemn and interesting. The prosperity and 
perpetuity of Christ's kingdom in Burma is dependent, under God, 
on their fidelity and zeal. 

" March 15. — Baptized three from Rangoon yesterday. As small- 
pox is in the place, dispersed our class of ten Karen boys, who are 
studying English under Mrs. Abbott's tuition. They had just begun 
to make perceptible progress. But not one of them has had the dis- 
ease ; and we think it best to send them away, although they would 
have remained and taken the risk, had I consented. I baptize three 
promising candidates to-morrow. 

"28th, Sabbath. — Nine Karens from Bassein and Rangoon asked 
for baptism ; were received, and baptized at sunset. 

"81st. — Sent a circular to the Rangoon assistants, advising them 
to communicate with Maulmain. I have corresponded with brother 
Vinton on the subject. As he is nearer Rangoon than I, he can take 
charge of them, if Karens can pass and repass the eastern frontier. 
They will meet with obstacles ; still I hope a good many from Ran- 
goon will be able to go and study a part of the year at Maulmain. 

" April 1. — How invaluable are the privileges and enjoyments of 
Christian society ! Yesterday we were cheered by the arrival of our 
beloved brother and sister Stilson from Ramree. Shut out as we are 
from the Christian world, we count such visits among the most pre- 
cious of earthly blessings. Our friends come to spend a few days 
here for their health. Two Burman assistants accompauy them; and 
the poor idolaters around us will hear the gospel of peace from their 
own countrymen. 

" 12th. — Brother Stilson baptized three Karens to-day. His address 
being in Burmese, the Burman congregation on the banks of the river 
were enabled to understand the nature and design of baptism. Dur- 
ing his prayer all was quiet, and I witnessed the administration of 
the ordinance with peculiar satisfaction. . . . We have been in San- 
doway one year, and have experienced much of the goodness of our 
heavenly Father. Surrounded by disease and death, we have enjoyed 
good health. Eight Karens have died on our compound during the 



A CHANGE OF BASE. 55 

year, and the cholera has swept away one-eighth of the inhabitants of 
the land in three months. 'Eastern Golgotha' is a term not inaptly 
applied to Arakan. 1 More than six thousand gospels, tracts, hymn- 
boohs, etc., have been distributed among the Karen Christians; and 
these books have cost the disciples in Bassein nearly Bs. 1,200, 2 or 
§345. I have seen all the assistants in Burma but one, and given 
them such counsel as their trying circumstances seemed to demand. 
A hundred and eighty-four have been baptized in the likeness of the 
Saviour's death. At Magezziu, south of Sandoway, is a church of 
forty-four members ; at Baumee, one of thirty. Three of the baptized 
live at Sandoway, aud five near Eangoon. The remaining one hun- 
dred and two reside in thirty-six small villages in Bassein. They are 
principally the leading men in their respective villages. Several other 
villages are decidedly Christian, but the exact number I cannot give. 
There are, probably, about twelve families in a village, on an average. 
"Before the persecution, they had sabbath worship in some con- 
venient place, where all the village assembled, listened to the reading 
of the Scriptures, singing, prayer, and exhortations. Since the jeal- 
ousy of the government has been aroused, they have assembled in 
small companies of two or three families ; and in some places, where 
' informers ' are stationed, they meet to worship God only at night, 
when their enemies are asleep. My last accounts from Bassein are 
more cheering. The principal officers are divided in counsel as to 
the course to be pursued with the Christians. Some are for severe 
measures : others incline to toleration, fearing, I apprehend, that the 
Karens will emigrate to this province in a body, — an event which I 
should deprecate at present, as it would involve fearful consequences. 
Our consolation is, 'the Lord reigneth.'" 

Before the time for beginning his rainy-season school, Mr. 
Abbott had prepared temporary buildings for a school of assist- 
ants only. For want of funds, he was obliged to send awa}-, 

1 One-third of the European residents of Arakan died that season from 
fever and cholera, among them a most worthy physician, Dr. Claributt, to 
whose devotion and skill Dr. Kincaid felt that he owed his life, when near 
succumbing to a sharp attack of cholera. 

2 In most other missions these hooks would have been given away, or 
sold at a merely nominal price; e.g., Dr, Mason, writing from Tavoy, says 
(Missionary Magazine, July, 1813, p. 181), " At one time we commenced 
selling the Karens books; but it was ' no go. ' " 



<3G BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

imperatively, several who were very anxious to study. This 
year the terra of four mouths passed away without interruption 
from sickness, and most profitably. As only nineteen assistants 
came in, enough select youth were received from neighboring 
villages to bring up the number to thirty. In the cold season, 
also, Mrs. Abbott, as usual, taught a class of boys, partly in 
English studies, making the whole number under instruction 
about forty. Of his own work he writes : — 

" My time was exclusively devoted to the assistants, considering it 
of the highest importance that they clearly understand the first great 
principles of the gospel which they preach. Besides lessons in arith- 
metic and geography, I established a course of morning lectures on 
Paul's Epistles to Timothy, in the course of which I endeavored to 
bring out to their view, distinctly and explicitly, the organization of 
a Christian church, the qualifications, call, appointment, and duties 
of bishops and deacons, and to impress upon their minds the direc- 
tions given in those epistles for the guidance of ministers. In the 
afternoon their attention was directed entirely to the Gospels. "We 
had preaching and religious exercises every evening. 

" They all enjoyed good health, and were enabled to pursue their 
studies uninterruptedly. Their growth in grace and in divine knowl- 
edge was perceptible and highly gratifying. The season passed away 
pleasantly and profitably, and I now look back upon it with joy and 
devout gratitude. They left us for their distant homes Sept. 1. 
Karens seldom weep ; but some of them, when we parted, turned away 
to conceal their tears. A part of them are to be stationed in this 
province, in Bassein and Pantanau, as pastors; and others are to itin- 
erate, and preach the gospel to their people, who have never yet heard 
the joyful sound. I have agreed to meet them at Magezzin, near the 
frontier, on the 1st of January next, as that will be as early as I can 
venture into the jungle with safety." 

So far as is known to the writer, E. L. Abbott was far in 
advance of all contemporary foreign missionaries, boards, and 
secretaries, in his views as to the necessity of bringing up the 
congregations of converted heathen to the practice of self-sup- 
port. He found himself at this time, however, in circumstances 
of great difficulty. The Karens of Bassein were then the poor- 



A CHANGE OF BASE. 57 

est of the poor. Their unhusked rice, when they were allowed 
to sell it, would bring them only five rupees a hundred bushels ; 
they were loaded with fines ; though not baptized, they were 
struggling to build chapels for the worship of God, never dream- 
ing of outside assistance. All that their missionary had asked 
for towards the support of native preachers, the school, includ- 
ing buildings, and his own travelling expenses, was Rs. 1,500 ; 
yet from the straitened state of the treasury, and from some 
extraordinary views as to equality in the distribution of mission- 
funds, the Board had allowed him only Us. 1,000. Under these 
circumstances the overburdened missionary writes : — 

"Will the children of God in America send me money for the 
support of these beloved men in their self-denying", perilous labors for 
our Master ? or must I, at the coming meeting, tell them to return 
to their paddy-fields, and labor with their hands to keep their families 
from starvation? The last letter from the foreign secretary says, 
'Reduce your expenditures in any way. . . . Reduction must be made.' 
Are the days of the Karen mission numbered? Are the four thou- 
sand poor, persecuted, bleeding lambs of Jesus, scattered through the 
wilds of Burma, to be left to famish for the bread of life for want of 
a few paltry dollars ? . . . In many new places the people are calling 
for preachers; but, owing to the secretary's orders, all such calls must 
pass unheeded. Ministers of the gospel in the Karen jungles cannot 
travel, and spend all their time, laboring in the vineyard of the Lord, 
and support themselves and their families on air, any more than it 
can be done by ministers of the gospel in America." 

In a letter just then received, the Board had offered, rather 
tardily, to remunerate Mr. Abbott for a loss by fire of live 
hundred rupees. While acknowledging their generosit} 7 , he de- 
clines this personal assistance, as no longer needed. He pro- 
poses, however, to draw on them for a part of the sum, to eke 
out the assistance absolutely required for his preachers. 

"Instead of a thousand rupees, I had expected fifteen hundred 
at least : in fact, I must have that sum to meet my engagements 
the present year. If Ramree, with two or three assistants, and 
Akyab, with the same number, receive each one thousand, I had sup- 



53 BASSEJN KAREN MISSION. 

posed that Sandoway, Bassein and Pantanau, with twenty assistants 
under engagement, would receive a larger sum. Of course the Board 
can dispense only •what they receive. . . . Until I hear from the 
Board, I shall keep within the thousand rupees, hoping at the same 
time to prevail on Mr. Kincaid to let me have a few hundred from 
Akyab. The Kamree brethren say they cannot spare a rupee. . . . 
I have told the assistants distinctly, that they must not expect to be 
supported by foreigners always. When I send my detailed accounts, 
the secretary can observe that many of them receive but a few rupees. 
Were it not for the [Burman] government, under which most of the 
Christians live, they would not care about receiving any foreign aid 
at all to support their own pastors. They have aided the assistants 
(by feeding them and by gifts of clothing) to the amount of several 
hundred rupees, besides paying then- enormous fines to government, 
in addition to their usual taxation. I have received from a few of 
them twenty rupees for the cause. They are also now engaged in this 
province in building chapels, which will require all their means." 

He closes thus : — 

" The secretary will perceive that this is dated at Ramree. I am 
here in pursuit of that fleeting goddess, Health. I am happy to say 
that her ladyship appears to be approachable. I fear that I have an 
inflammation of the liver, which is the cause of weakness, and pain at 
the stomach, owing, probably, to close confinement during the rains. 
After the school closed, my very good friend Dr. Morton furnished 
me with a vessel free of expense ; and, with my family, I came to 
this place, and intend to remain here till the season arrives for jungle 
travelling. I did think I should be obliged to go to sea : but the sec- 
retary's letter will induce me to defer it ; or, if it still seems to be 
necessary, I shall endeavor to pay the cost myself. Travel and 
change, with the blessing of Him whom we serve, will, I trust, restore 
me again. I am admonished, however, that what I do must be done 
quickly." 



CHAPTER IV. 

1842, 1843. 

" Truly, merchants themselves shall rise in judgment against the princes 
and nobles of Europe; for the merchants have made a great path in the 
seas, unto the ends of the world, and sent forth ships and fleets of Spanish, 
English, and Dutch, enough to make China tremble: and all this for pearl 
and stone and spices. But for the pearl of the kingdom of heaven, or the 
stone of the heavenly Jerusalem, or the spices of the Spouse's Garden, not 
a mast has been set up." — Lord Bacon. 

This chapter is the record of two years' further progress in 
the Bassein mission, so far as that progress has been reported 
by the principal actor. Some condensation has been necessaiy ; 
but we are sure that no "editing" cau improve the graphic 
descriptions penned by Mr. Abbott amid the very scenes which 
he portrays, nor would our readers wish the account materially 
abridged. It must be remembered, however, that by far the 
greater part of the work now going on throughout the extensive 
plains of Bassein was wrought by obscure men, whose deeds 
and sufferings were unseen and unrecorded, save by the angelic 
chroniclers above. Abbott's own praise of these humble men 
was never stinted. In January, 1842, he wrote : — 

"My confidence in the assistants is more and more confirmed. 
They are a faithful, laborious, successful, worthy set of men ; and, 
through their instrumentality, the gospel is certainly triumphing in 
many parts of Burma." 

The work of the year 1842 begins, as usual,' with the annual 
cold season visit of the missionary to the Christian Karen com- 
munities down the coast. As his coming was widely adver- 

59 



60 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

tised, he was met at the several villages b} 7 considerable 
numbers of unbaptized Christians from distant places beyond 
the frontier. During his absence of thirty-one days, Mr. 
Abbott baptized two hundred and seventy-five persons, most 
of whom were from the Burman province of Bassein, and the 
fruits of the ministry of Karen assistants. "We leave him to 
tell the story in his own language. 

"Jan. 7, 1S42. — Arrived at Gwa this evening. Five assistants 
from Burma met me on the shore, accompanied by some twenty men, 
who have come over ' to see the teacher,' and ask for baptism. Three 
of them live on the Irrawaddy, north of Rangoon. Accounts from 
the Christians in Burma are, on the whole, satisfactory. Xear Ran- 
goon they are obliged to submit to annoyances, but to no severe 
oppression. At Pantanau, and thence on this way to Bassein, all is 
quiet, and they wish me to come over and visit them. 

"8th. — Left Gwa at daylight, and anchored in Magezzin River at 
noon. At five, p.m., reached the Christian village in a small boat. 
The first object that attracted my notice was the new chapel, just 
erected by the church, and dedicated to the service of God. It is one 
of the best buildings I have ever seen in the Karen jungle, and does 
honor to the pastor, Myat Kyau, under whose direction it was erected. 
In Burma it is reported that this chapel is a palace for the Karen 
king! Found assistants here from Burma, waiting my arrival, letters 
from Maubee and Rangoon, and a good many persons who have come 
over for baptism. 

"9th, Sabbath. — Preaching at nine, a.m., and a covenant meeting at 
noon, preparatory to the communion in the evening. At four, p.m., 
assembled again for the examination of candidates. All these appli- 
cants came over with their teachers, under whose instructions they 
have embraced the gospel. For want of time, I ask the assistants, 
in whom I have perfect confidence, whether they are acquainted with 
the candidates, and can vouch for their good moral and Christian 
character since they believed. I propose certain questions to each one, 
but admit them mainly on the testimony of the assistants. Just 
before sunset we assembled near the chapel, on the banks of the 
stream, hallowed in our affections by scenes which we have here for- 
merly witnessed. I baptized twenty-four men from villages in Burma. 
In the evening, administered the Lord's Supper to more than a hun- 
dred communicants. This has been one of those happy days, a day 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. CI 

of ingathering, which abundantly compensate us for months of anxiety 
and toil. 

"10th. — Left Magezzin this morning, and returned to the mouth 
of the river. Fifty men followed me to procure books. At evening 
they left me for their homes over the mountains. 

"11th. — Headache and fever during the night. I pray I may not 
be stopped in my labors now. God is my protector, and to him I com- 
mit my ways. Started at sunrise, notwithstanding my indisposition, 
and walked two hours on the beach, to the mouth of the Baumee, 
which must be a mile wide. "Waited here for my boat, which was 
obliged to go a long distance out to sea to get around a ledge of rocks 
and shoals. Ascended the river till noon, and arrived at a Christian 
village of five families, a branch of the Baumee church. After even- 
ing worship, inquired into the standing of the church-members. 

" 12th. — A meeting to settle a difficulty between two brethren, 
which gave me an opportunity to instruct the disciples on the subject 
of discipline. 

"13th. — Went on up the river till nearly noon, to the largest and 
most central Karen village on the river. As there were several appli- 
cants for baptism, I lectured on the qualifications requisite for admis- 
sion, marking also disqualifications. Thirty-one were received, and 
baptized according to apostolic precept and example. 

" llfth. — Administered the communion this morning. The church 
now numbers seventy-four members; one death having occurred dur- 
ing the year, but no case of discipline. Moung Bo is stationed here; 
but as he is going into a destitute region in Burma, away towards the 
northern mountains, I have appointed Shway Bay to conduct services, 
and exercise a general supervision over the Christians, having refer- 
ence to me at Sandoway. 

"15th. — During the night my men rowed down to the mouth of 
the river. At daylight, proceeded down the coast till four, p.m., when 
we ran into a small bay, and anchored. One hour's walk brought me 
to a Karen village called Ong Khyoung [i.e., Cocoanut Creek]. The 
Christians have erected a neat chapel upon a little hill a short dis- 
tance from the village, which contains a pulpit withal, — a wonderful 
improvement for the jungle, and quite in advance of the age. 

"16th, Sabbath. — The people fired a gnu last evening to notify 
those at a distance of my arrival : so they came flocking together at 
an early hour, — men, women, and children. The principal man of the 
village and others with him were baptized at Sandoway a year ago. 



62 



BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 



As there is no assistant here, I was obliged to move cautiously in the 
examination of candidates. None were admitted who had not borne 
a good character for several months. Near the close of the day, 
thirty-six publicly professed their faith by baptism. In the evening,' 
constituted them into a church of thirty-nine members, who will be 
able to support a pastor, at least in part. 

"17tk. — Continued down the coast until near evening, and ran in 
for the night behind a small island called Khyoungthah (p. 3). Went 
on shore with tracts, but scarcely an individual would receive one. 
An old priest took a bound volume, but returned it again, fearing lest 
he should commit himself by its reception. 

"18lh. — Started, as usual, at daylight, and ran into a bay in the 
afternoon, on the shore of which stands a Karen village called Sinmar 
[Female Elephant]. The Christians have a small chapel in a beauti 
ful grove twenty or thirty yards from the beach. Met them at even 
ing worship, after which several applied for baptism. But, as I intend 
to return here for the sabbath, they were willing to wait. 

"19th. — Walked on the shore till nine o'clock, and waited for my 
boat to come around a rocky peninsula. Rowed all day, as usual. 
Arrived at a Karen village at evening, called 'The broken-legged 
Buffalo.' Nearly all the people here are emigrants from Burma, who 
have fled from persecution. They have erected a convenient chapel, 
and have a worthy and efficient man for their teacher. Here, under 
the British dominion, they enjoy that most precious of blessings, 
religious liberty — Ay, and 

' Freedom to worship God.' 

"20th. — After a season of prayer with the people at an early hour, 
I lectured those who were to come forward for baptism. When I gave 
the opportunity, a large company presented themselves. They have 
been under Tway Po's instruction two years or more, and they are 
all well aware of the qualifications requisite for baptism. I had also 
made particular inquiry of the assistant relative to their character. 
A few who would have come forward were deterred by the assistant, 
as he was not perfectly satisfied of their fitness : consequently, all 
who did present themselves were quite certain to be admitted. After 
a short intermission, again assembled, and, in addition to those ac- 
cepted in the morning, several little girls, ten or twelve years old, 
came before the congregation, and asked to be baptized. On inquiring 
why they did not come forward in the morning, I was told they were 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. Go 

afraid of being rejected ; that some of them went home weeping, and 
one little girl induced her parents to ask for them. Another went to 
her parents weeping, because ' the teacher had not written her name 
in the big book, among those who were to be baptized.' Another told 
the assistant that she might die before another year, unbaptized, and 
asked him to present her case to me. I inquired particularly of their 
parents and of Tway Po, and on hearing their testimony, and on 
questioning them individually, I became satisfied of the genuineness 
of their faith, and, as all the baptized approved, they were received. 
After singing and prayer beside a small river, seventy-five converts 
were baptized into the name of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost. 
These are precious seasons. The time occupied in baptizing the whole 
was about an hour. In the evening, organized a church, and gave 
them a lecture relative to their new relations, particularly the obliga- 
tions they are under to their pastor. Tway Po is a worthy man, and 
possesses the entire confidence of the people. He has spent several 
months in study with me, and I see not why he may not be ordained 
another season. Married a couple after evening service. 

"21st. — Spent the day with the people. Preaching morning and 
evening. At the close of the evening service, at eight, p. jr., we sang 
the parting hymn [by Dr. Mason], — 

1 According to the will of God, 
Brethren, we must part.' 

The congregation then, one after the other, came and shook my hand. 
I retired to my boat to sleep, and ordered the men to turn the prow 
towards Sandoway, distant at least ten days. This is [at present] the 
most southern station in the province of Arakan, distant, as we travel 
in a small boat, about two days from Cape Negrais, and about the 
same distance from Bassein by land. 

"22d. — Found myself in sight of Sinmah at sunrise. At evening 
the few Karens here assembled for worship, and several requested 
baptism. The assistant, Dah Po, was baptized last year at Sandoway. 
Although a young man, not receiving support from the mission, he 
appears worthy and faithful. Inquired into the character of the 
candidates. 

"28(1, Sabbath. — Twenty were examined and baptized to-day, in 
the open sea, in front of the chapel. Here is now a 'small church of 
twenty-one members ; but as they are emigrants from Burma, recently 
arrived, it is doubtful whether they will remain here, or remove to 



64 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

some other Christian village. In the evening, instructed them as to 
the mutual duties and obligations of church-members, and commended 
them to the great Shepherd of Israel. 

"27th. — After three days' detention at Sinmah by adverse winds, 
were able to put out to sea with safety. Arrived at Khyoungthah at 
mid-day, and there remained till the sea-breeze died away, late in the 
night. 

" 2Sth. — Stopped at eleven, a.m., in the lee of a large rock, on an 
uninhabited coast. The wild elephant and tiger are seldom disturbed 
here. Just before sunset, walked on the shore with my gun, and shot 
a peacock. Returning to my boat, near a thicket, heard the fearful 
growl and crashing of an elephant. The two natives with me ran 
away, of course, and, not relishing the idea of being crushed under 
the feet of the huge creature, I ran too. 

"20th. — Went on at ten, p.m., and reached Magezzin River at 
noon. Saw a company of Karens on the shore, waiting with a canoe 
to take me up to their village. At five, p.m., arrived, and found a 
hundred and fifty men from Burma, waiting my arrival. As I was 
detained at Sinmah, they have been kept waiting here an equal time. 
Assembled immediately for worship. The large and beautiful chapel 
was filled with attentive listeners, many from a distance of hundreds 
of miles. After a hymn of praise, I preached on repentance. As 
several of those who came from Burma had hired a boat on the 
Baumee River, and agreed to return it to-night, they asked to be bap- 
tized immediately. I inquired of the assistant, and, being satisfied, 
baptized twenty forthwith, who then shook hands, and departed. 

"30th, Sabbath. — After morning worship, sixty-nine candidates 
were admitted. They all came over with the assistants, and were 
recommended by them. The assistants have such clear views, and 
the qualifications of a candidate for baptism are so distinctly marked, 
that an unworthy character seldom presents himself. Among the 
applicants to-day were six women from Burma, — the first who have 
come over the mountains. Old mothers in Israel witli their daughters 
have come through the wilderness, a journey of four days, on foot, to 
be baptized. What an example of the constraining influence of the 
love of Christ ! Assembled again after the afternoon service, and 
those admitted in the morning were baptized. May all these beloved 
disciples who have here witnessed a good profession before rejoicing 
angels endure to the end as good soldiers of Jesus Christ ! I com- 
mend them to the Good Shepherd. May they be shielded from the 
persecutor's rage and from the wiles of the great adversary ! 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. 65 

" After preaching in the evening, had a long conversation with the 
assistants, on various points where they are in doubt or have expe- 
rienced difficulty. Among other matters, a letter was handed me, 
which contained a request that Bleh Po might be ordained. It was 
signed by several old men, and was concurred in by all the assistants ; 
which not only indicated his standing, but a good degree of right 
feelina - anions the assistants. However, Bleh Po himself wished the 
subject to be dropped for the present, as he intends to study with ma 
another season at least. 

" Several of the assistants understand Pwo, and preach in it : others 
have a Pwo interpreter travelling with them. So the truth is spread- 
ing among that people. They are calling for books, and for a man to 
teach them ; for both of which I have written to Tavoy and Mergui, 
but can get neither. How many Pwos have been baptized I cannot 
say exactly. There are, however, more than forty Christian families 
among that people in [Bassein]. I have appointed an assistant among 
them, who was baptized to-day. [Probably S'rah Shway Bo, now for 
many years pastor at Engma. — Ed.] Another man, baptized to-day, 
has agreed to come and study with me, if I will get a Pwo book. I 
intend to study that dialect as soon as I get one. 

" Slst. — Had a season of prayer this morning with the Christians ; 
gave them a short lecture and a few parting words of admonition. 
We then separated, in companies of from half a dozen to twenty, 
and started for our distant homes. I came down to the mouth of the 
river, to my boat ; but the sea-breeze had already set in. We must 
remain here, therefore, till it lulls during the night. 

" Feb. 5, Sandoicay. — Arrived here in five days from Magezzin, by 
rowing from midnight to ten or eleven, a.m., and lying by the rest of 
the time, — a mode of travelling not quite as agreeable or speedy as 
the car or steamer. Bowed down before the family altar with my 
dear wife and infant children, and offered up to God an oblation of 
thanksgiving for all his i - ich goodness. 

" 13th. — Baptized four who came over from Burma expecting to 
find me at Magezzin. As I had departed, they followed me on to 
Sandoway, where they arrived five days ago. They all gave very good 
satisfaction on their examination, and Shway Weing testified to their 
good character." 

In a note which accompanies the above, Mr. Abbott gives 
somewhat later intelligence of a most cheering character : — 



66 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

" Since I closed my journal, Myat Kyau, the pastor at Magezzin, 
has visited me with another assistant, and others who came from 
Burma to be baptized. As I send this away by the present mail, I 
cannot give the number of those who will probably be baptized to- 
morrow. The report they bring from Burma gladdens my heart. 
The Christians meet in large congregations. Burmese officers fre- 
quently come in while they are at worship. The assistants travel and 
preach in the most public manner, and the government looks on in 
silence. I feared that the great numbers who are coming over, and 
returning with books, would excite persecution ; but no one has been 
annoyed. It is reported that the king, during his late visit to Ran- 
goon, inquired concerning the Karens who had embraced a foreign 
religion. On being told that they were a quiet people, and paid their 
taxes, his Majesty replied, ' Then let them alone.' This may be true : 
still, no dependence is to be placed on the promise of a Burman official 
of any rank." 

During the rains of 1842 about thirty of the assistants as- 
sembled in Sandoway for study. To them, as always, Mr. 
Abbott devoted his time and best energies. After their depart- 
ure, early in September, he sent to press a skeleton of his lec- 
tures on the following topics, — God, Creation, Redemption, 
Resurrection, Eternity, Bishop, Deacon, Church, Baptism, 
Lord's Supper, etc. Dec. li the missionary wrote: " In a 
day or two we (Mrs. Abbott and babes accompajing) are to 
be off to the jungles for the season. What will be our success 
who can sa} 7 ? A multitude, without figure of speech, are wait- 
ing for baptism. God's name be praised ! " He did not know 
the dark cloud of trial which was even then resting upon the 
churches in Bassein. Again the poor Christians are under 
the ruthless hand of Burman extortioners ; and cholera, chiefest 
in the retinue of death, is sweeping hundreds into eternity. 
Among them, the mission suffers a grievous loss in the death 
of Bleh Po, whose name is familiar to our readers. As his 
death occurred before the close of the year, we insert Mr. 
Abbott's tribute to his memory at this point : — 

" lie was one of the first and most noted of the Karen converts in 
Bassein. The opposition he encountered was well calculated to test 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. G7 

the genuineness of his conversion, and to induce that steadfastness 
which was so essential in his after-life. He silenced the clamor of 
his relatives by his meekness and wisdom, and finally became instru- 
mental in the conversion of most of them. Still, he was obliged to 
sacrifice some property in becoming a Christian. He soon encountered 
the opposition of petty officers, who apprehended and threatened him, 
in order to compel him to cease preaching. But Bleh Po always 
disarmed them of 'their hatred, and converted them, either into friends 
or harmless enemies. No other Karen could preach to this class of 
men as he could, without getting a beating ; and no other preacher 
suffered less. It is believed that a few of them are now Christians 
at heart. 

"Bleh Po's knowledge of the Bible was necessarily limited, as only 
the Gospels and the Acts were translated before his death ; but, being 
a man of thought and studious habits, he treasured up in his heart 
whatever came within his reach, so that he had committed to memory 
the greater part of the Gospels. While with me, he studied the 
principal doctrines, and listened to my lectures with deep attention. 
These fundamental truths were not lost upon him. He was apt to 
teach, and knew when to speak and when to be silent. In cases of 
difficulty and discipline beyond the control of others, Bleh Po was 
sent for ; and his voice would generally still the troubled waters. His 
weight of character, also, gave him almost unbounded influence over 
the Christian community. A man of unwavering integrity, of guile- 
less simplicity, his entire being was as transparent as the light. Dis- 
creet withal, and of sterling good sense, his word was law to his 
converts, and commanded the respect of his bitterest foes. His con- 
sistent piety added greatly to his influence. He kept the even tenor 
of his way. From the first hour of his embracing the gospel, to the 
gates of the grave, his path was emphatically 'the path of the just.' 
Prayer was with him a fixed habit, essential to his existence. Many 
a time, at the dead of night, when the rest of the world were wrapped 
in slumber, he was awake, pouring out his soul to his God. While a 
student, he very frequently would get away into some secluded place, 
and spend a day in fasting and prayer. 

" A self-sacrificing spirit was characteristic of his piety. The idea 
of self never seemed to awaken the least anxiety. In .1S42 he received 
from the mission thirty-six rupees, not one pice of which, I believe, he 
ever appropriated to his own use. He said that it was God's money, 
and, seeking out poor Christians, gave it all away, trusting in Provi- 



C8 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

dence for the support of his family. Nor in temporal matters alone 
did he exhibit this quality. When apprehended and threatened, not 
knowing but a cruel death would be his portion, he did not seem to 
have one anxious thought. This spirit manifested itself in all his 
course, and in his preaching assumed the character of active benevo- 
leuce, zeal for God. He preached the gospel from Bassein down to 
the seacoast, along the mountains to the north, and away east towards 
Rangoon. From village to village, and from house to house, his voice 
was heard, like that of John in the wilderness. And he counted it 
no sacrifice : he labored cheerfully and with joy. 

" During the last few days of his life this spirit was more conspic- 
uous than ever. The cholera appeared in his village, and he was one 
of the first attacked. He soon recovered, but could not rest. Al- 
though his strength was prostrated, and his friends, fearing a relapse, 
advised him to keep quiet, he forgot himself; and, wherever one was 
attacked, there was Bleh To, exhorting them to trust in God, and con- 
soling the dying with the promises of the gospel. But he could not 
endure it. In three days the relapse came. His friends gathered 
around him : still Bleh Po manifested the same self-forgetfulness. In 
the dreadful pains of that most fearful of diseases, he exhorted his 
friends to be steadfast, and never to desert the cause of Christ. He 
was told that he was dying, knew that he was dying ; but he heeded 
it not. He spent his last breath in exhorting and comforting his 
friends. He died Dec. 20, aged thirty years. 

"As will be supposed, Bleh Po was beloved. Since his death I 
have seen hundreds from his own and the neighboring villages, and 
they all speak of him with affection and grief. I did not see his rela- 
tives till several weeks after his death ; and then the first word they 
would say to me would generally be, ' Teacher, Bleh Po is dead ! 
What shall we do now ? ' A great many of the aged women from his 
village came to the Baumee chapel. They all loved to talk about 
Bleh Po, to dwell on his sayings, his goodness, his humility, his faith- 
fulness ; and, with tears running down their old cheeks, they would 
say, 'Teacher, what shall we do now?' There is an intensity and 
depth of feeling manifested in their grief which I have never seen 
exhibited by Karens before. 'Pga hau dau Tcauh nijah' ('The whole 
country is in tears' ), an assistant told me who had travelled widely. 
Take him all in all, I have never seen his equal in Burma. When I 
think of his death, a kind of awful sadness comes over me, and my 
heart melts within me." 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. GO 

Along with increased ingatherings and the continued impos- 
sibility of a missionary visitiug the Christians beyond the fron- 
tier in person, a practical question of great importance comes 
up in 1843 for final settlement. To us who have seen the 
happy result of the "experiment" of ordaining a native min- 
istry, it is difficult to understand the shrinking felt by most 
missionaries of that period at taking this necessary aud 
entirely scriptural step. In Bassein alone, including those 
deceased, more than fifty Karen ministers have assumed the 
solemn responsibilities which follow ordination. Of the entire 
number, not one, within the writer's knowledge, has disgraced 
his profession, or failed to perform its duties with a fair degree 
of credit. Still there was opposition. So good and wise a 
man as Francis Mason could write this very year, with refer- 
ence, perhaps, to the step which Abbott was contemplating: — 

"In my early years of missionary labor, before I was fully ac- 
quainted with native character, I was decidedly in favor of ordaining 
the prominent assistants ; but of late I have been so fully persuaded 
of their general unfitness for the ministerial office, that I could not in 
conscience consent to the ordination of a single one with whom I 
have ever been acquainted." — Miss. Mag., July, 18-13, p. 17S. 

Fortunately, Mr. Abbott was not accustomed to take counsel 
of timid fear. He had a large measure of sound common sense, 
and that happy combination of self-reliance with reliance upon 
a higher power, which is needful for the exigencies of a pioneer 
missionary's life. He was now rapidly making history of the 
best kind. With thanksgiving to the Author of the rich bless- 
ings recorded, we insert the journal of his annual tour, sub- 
stantially as he wrote it : — 

"Dec. 21,181*2.— Left Sandoway with my family last evening, in 
a government boat which Mr. Phayre, the senior assistant cominis- 
sioner, gives us for the trip. Put to sea at daylight, and with a favor- 
ing breeze have been sailing down the coast through the day. Many 
thanks to Mr. Phayre for his kindness. We are much more comforta- 
bly situated than we could be in a native boat. 



70 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

"22d. — Arrived at Gwa this evening. Came ou shore, and are 
stopping in a small government bungalow. The native officer and 
people of the place came crowding around to get a sight of the white 
woman and children. Old people say Mrs. Abbott is the first Eng- 
lishwoman they have ever seen. If we walk through the bazaar, 
there is such a running, and gazing, and staring ! Groups will stand 
and gaze till we pass, and then run on ahead to get another front 
view. 

"Styli. — Left Gwa at two, a.m., in a native boat, and, after sis 
hours' rowing southward, entered the Kalah River. There is a small 
Christian village in the vicinity. 

''SSth. — Christmas, and, though not a 'merry,' a very happy, and, 
I trusty a profitable day. Preached through the day, and at evening 
baptized three. One is from Gwa; one lives nearBassein; and the 
other, several days up the Irrawaddy from Rangoon. I have known 
them for more than a year. 

"27th. — Left Kalah River at three, a.m., and entered the Baumee 
about eight. Breakfasted, and then onward, up the river with the 
tide, arriving at Baumee chapel about sunset. This house of God, 
erected by the Christians here, marks another step in advance. It is 
finished better than any of those built last year, and will seat eight 
hundred comfortably, I think. It does great credit to Shway Bay. 
In this vicinity are more than forty Christian families, who, although 
they live in hamlets a little distant, are near enough to come to wor- 
ship on the sabbath. In this house may the Lord our God take up 
his abode, and magnify the riches of his saving mercy ! 

u 2Sth. — As it was late when we arrived last evening, but few came 
in to see us. But, while we were at breakfast, they came around in 
scores, particularly interested to get a sight of the mama and the chil- 
dren, ' with such beautiful white faces.' One among the many bene- 
fits arising from such visits is, that the native Christians may be 
taught by example. We eat in public, and they see that our table 
and its furniture are kept clean, and arranged in an orderly manner. 
They see the family come from their private apartment with clean 
garments and clean faces, and sit down to their table, and eat their 
food with expressions of thanksgiving to God. We do not wish, of 
course, that Karens should adopt all American customs ; but it does 
them good to see the order of a civilized Christian family. 

" Several assistants and others arrived to-day from Burma. There 
is a very good path from here over the hills ; and the distance to the 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. 71 

first [Christian] village on the other side cannot exceed fifteen miles. 
Sad tidings again are brought from the disciples in Burma. Xot only 
are they subject to the common oppression, but, as Christians, they are 
especially liable to suffer from relentless extortion. The population 
of whole villages, after suffering to the last point of endurance, — their 
all, even to their supply of food, wrung from them, — have fled hither 
and thither, obliged to conceal themselves, and to borrow or beg till 
they can make another harvest. 

" The following case is but one of the kind : one of the assistants, 
while preaching on Sunday, was interrupted by a petty officer, who 
entered, seized the book from his hand, and ordered him to interpret 
its contents into Burmese. The preacher did so ; and the officer, in a 
rage, struck him on the face with the book, fined him fifty rupees, 
and, as security, took the assistant's wife, and walked away with her 
to his own house. The only alternatives for the injured man were to 
let his wife remain a slave, or pay the fine. His Christian brethren 
made up the sum, several hundred giving each a few annas, and in 
two or three days his wife was at liberty. There is no help in such a 
case. Had the man appealed to higher authorities, he would proba- 
bly have been beaten and imprisoned, and fined fifty rupees more. 

" This chapel is believed at Bassein to be a palace for a Karen gen- 
eral who is going to invade Burma at the head of a large army, and 
is to make this his headquarters. It is said the palace has so many 
hundred posts, and, most ominous of all, a kind of ' royal cupola,' 
which, on any building except a royal palace or religious monastery, 
would in Burma be an aggravated insult. The small vessel in which 
we came down to Gwa becomes at Bassein a dozen ships-of-wav. 
All the Christian villages have been searched, and every thing in the 
shape of a musket has been taken away. The officers say the Chris- 
tians are to join the invading army. The poor disciples know not 
what to do. They see that the jealousy of the government is awakened, 
and they know that it is as ' cruel as the grave.' They are in a state 
of fearful apprehension, and many of them are beginning to waver, 
and I fear may apostatize. In such seasons the poor missionary 
hardly knows where to turn. Cholera, also, is sweeping off multitudes 
in Burma. Some Christian villages have been nearly depopulated. 
In one case, a whole family died, and their bodies were left to feed 
the dogs. The pestilence passed over the mountains from us to the 
east some months ago. 

"80th. — Baptized nineteen this morning, all residing within the 



72 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

bounds of this church. One man we were obliged to exclude. He 
had been admonished time and again, and committees had visited 
him, but in vain. There was but one alternative. The Baumee 
church numbers over a hundred members. Shway Bay is young, but 
appears to exert a good influence. lie is a man of promise. 

"Jan. 1, 1843, Sabbath. — This New- Year's Day has been one of joy 
and hope, one of those days which I have longed to see, — an emblem 
of the eternal day, prefiguring the rest of the people of God. I 
awoke a few minutes past midnight, breathing a prayer for the con- 
version of the world. I thought of the millions of Christians in 
other lands, whose intercessions will come up to-day before the throne 
of God. May their prayers be heard ! May this be a year of won- 
ders and of the manifestation of God's saving mercy among the 
nations ! At morning service this fine chapel was filled by a multi- 
tude who came up to listen to the gospel, and pay their devotions to 
the living God. Towards evening sixteen converts witnessed a good 
confession. May they go on their way rejoicing ! In the evening 
the church partook of the emblems of that body slain, and of that 
precious blood which cleanseth from all sin. 

"2d. — But few Karens have come over from Burma. The officers 
near the frontier are on the alert. Have been consulting with the 
assistants and principal men relative to ordaining an evangelist to 
send into Burma, and as to a pastor for this church, but have come 
to no conclusion. 

li Jj,ih. — Walked with my family from the mouth of the Baumee to 
the mouth of Magezzin River : our boat, going round the point mean- 
time, came near being swamped. Stopped in a small zayat during 
the day. At evening the head man of the district came in, and very 
gravely informed me that he had j ust received news from Burma to 
the effect that an army of several hundred men were coming over 
to seize the 'Karen teacher,' and take him to the king of Ava. He 
advised me to flee towards Sandoway; felt it his duty to inform me 
of the report, and considered he should not be blameworthy should 
such an event now occur. This report will doubtless end like all 
others of the kind. They tend, however, to keep the poor people in 
a state of alarm. 

"An event has just occurred which increases the rancor of the 
Burman Government. The only son of the Mayahwaddy prince, 
the elder brother of the present king, who was killed, I think, near 
Toungoo, during the war with the English, has just escaped into Brit- 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. 73 

ish territory. This young prince is, of course, near the throne. Con- 
sequently, when the present king began to slaughter his rivals, he 
very wisely fled. He has been three or four years making his way 
from the capital to Bassein, begging his food, and dressed mostly in 
Karen style, to avoid detection. A few days since, he crossed the 
frontier, with his family and some thirty followers. He will doubtless 
be protected, and treated with honor." 

Even the foreign secretary, Dr. Peck, regarded the ordina- 
tion of native ministers as a hazardous step. In printing this 
journal in the " Magazine," he refers to the subject thus : — 

" The subject introduced in the next paragraph is one of extreme 
delicacy and difficulty. Were baptism essential to salvation, it would 
be less questionable whether any of the native converts should be 
empowered to administer it. Yet, if their character be like that 
ascribed to Bleh Po, the danger of improper admissions would not 
seem to be greatly increased, although placed beyond the personal 
observation of the missionary. And the privileges of the church of 
Christ ought not to be unnecessarily withheld from any who are 
entitled to them, nor the appointed instrumentalities for its edification 
set aside. The case involves, on either hand, a fearful responsibility." 

Mr. Abbott proceeds as follows : — 

"8th. — The ordination of native pastors over the Karen churches 
has been a subject of deep anxiety to me. Obliged as I am to be 
absent from them most of the year, and never able to visit them in 
Burma, the care of all the congregations is, of necessity, committed 
to men chosen from among themselves. No one is ever recognized 
by me as an ' assistant,' except upon the testimony and by the request 
of the people of his own village, nor until I have become satisfied 
that he possesses the necessary character and qualifications. It is also 
upon the condition always, that each one thus recognized is to come 
and study with me a part of each year. I have appointed a number 
somewhat in the character of Methodist ' class-leaders.' They receive 
no pay from the mission, are not reckoned among the assistants, do 
not itinerate and preach, but simply lead religious services in their 
own villages. The 'assistants' are, in fact, pastors, or evangelists, 
except that they are unordained. If they are competent to preach, 
to lead and instruct Christian congregations, why not recognize them 



74 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

as also competent to administer the ordinances? I have discouraged 
the idea of Karens coming ten or fifteen days' journey to be baptized 
by me. Why not ordain their own pastors, under whose preaching 
they were converted, and under whose guidance they are to live? 
Why not allow their pastors to baptize them at their own homes? 
There are hundreds of Christians in Burma who have never seen a 
missionary, and, unless a revolution sweep down the present monarchy, 
never will. They wish, of course, to be baptized ; and why not ordain 
them pastors ? If God has called these men to preach the gospel, 
has he not also called them to administer its ordinances? 

"Bleh Po was the man whom I had selected as the first to be or- 
dained. The great Head of the church had selected him as a minister- 
ing spirit to wait around the throne. There are others whom I had 
thought of ordaining. Among them is Myat Kyau, a man of experi- 
ence and influence, of sober judgment, and one who has the confidence 
of all the assistants. He has been much blessed as a preacher ; and, 
after the strictest inquiry among his people, I am satisfied as to his 
moral character. I have been endeavoring to ascertain the wishes of 
the church-members, but it is not an easy matter. They would con- 
sent to any thing 'the teacher' proposes, but I try to make them see 
that the ordination of a pastor particularly concerns them. Of course, 
the subject is all new to them ; and they can only do as they have been 
taught, so far as form is concerned, which is just what people do all 
over the world. The members understand that they are to testify as 
to the candidate's character ; that they are to receive, honor, and sup- 
port him ; also that I impart ordination at their request. 

" A meeting was called to-day. Many of the assistants and mem- 
bers from other churches were present, enough to constitute a council ; 
and although we did not adopt the usual method of electing a mod- 
erator (which office I filled myself), etc., the business w y as conducted 
with a good degree of decorum. I examined Myat Kyau at great 
length ; not for my own satisfaction, but by way of precedent. He 
has studied with me three rains, and I know his intellectual qualifi- 
cations. Then all the assistants, male members of the church, and 
visitors spoke, each according to his own views. I next proceeded to 
ordain Myat Kyau by the imposition of hands and prayer. Then, 
with the 'right hand of fellowship' and a solemn 'charge,' I recog- 
nized him as an ordained minister of the gospel. I have never expe- 
rienced greater satisfaction than in the performance of this deeply 
interesting service. May He in whose cause we labor bless the young 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. 75 

pastor in the discharge of his fearful responsibilities, and guide him 
safely through ! 

" At sunset I baptized the pastor's wife. She was a Pwo Karen 
Christian, though unbaptized, and is an intelligent, amiable person. 
At evening, assisted by the pastor, I administered the Lord's Supper. 
Myat Kyau discharged his part with great propriety. The Magezzin 
church has nearly a hundred members, and will probably soon double 
that number, being often augmented by emigrants from Burma. A 
Burman living near is asking for baptism, and wishes to unite him- 
self to the Karen church. Several Karen families who have been 
decided opposers show signs of a change. Some of them wish to be 
baptized, but the old patriarch does not yet consent." 

Returning to Gwa on the 10th, Mr. Abbott next proceeded 
to fulfil his appointments at Baumee and Ong Khyoung, not 
without a struggle ; for he was compelled to leave his " youngest 
child sick with jungle-fever, and Mrs. Abbott without a medi- 
cal adviser or any earthly friend, alone in a little hut on the 
sea-beach." 

" 14th. — Arrived at the Baumee chapel this morning. The first 
man I met was a Pwo assistant, who immediately asked if I had 
brought Pwo books. He said the Pwos were looking for books with 
much anxiety. As I walked up towards the chapel, a multitude of 
men, women, and children, met me, among whom were many strangers 
from Burma. 

" 15th, Sunday. — Another blessed day, fraught with joy and hope, 
yet not without many forebodings. The spacious chapel was filled 
with a congregation who listened with intense interest. I preached 
from those ' words ' to which the apostle referred when he said, ' Com- 
fort one another with these icords.' Precious words, and full of com- 
fort, indeed; and the occasion demanded their application. The poor 
Christians from Burma are all mourning the loss of friends. The 
cholera is making fearful ravages. Scarcely a family where the de- 
stroyer has not entered. Moreover, the bearing of the government 
is alarming. God Almighty, save thy heritage from reproach ! After 
preaching, candidates came pressing around, asking for baptism. I 
questioned them but little, simply to elicit from each a testimony, 
and confession of faith in Christ. My chief reliance is on the testi- 
mony of the assistants, who have conducted them to me as fit subjects 



76 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

for baptism. They have all studied with me, and this subject has 
been dwelt upon minutely and repeatedly. Moreover, all have seen my 
example. Were the reception of candidates left to my judgment 
alone, I should often be at a loss what to do. Those who pass the 
best examination do not always make the best Christians. After 
reception, seventy-six candidates witnessed a good profession. Myat 
Kyau and I went down into the water alternately. 

"16th. — Myat Kyau baptized four this morning. They appeared 
to have no choice as to the administrator. After prayer and a word 
of admonition to the people, I sent them away to their homes, with 
much apprehension. I fear their coming hither in such numbers 
will excite the jealousy of government. Left about noon, and came 
down to the mouth of the river, where I hoped to find news from our 
sick child. Have been waiting till late at night, but no letter. 

" 17th. — Long before daylight I sent a man to a village on the 
way to Gwa to inquire. He returned about eight, a.m., bringing a 
letter, which would have come last night but for the indolence and 
stupidity of the bearer. The poor child is suffering under a dreadful 
fever : still Mrs. Abbott is willing I should fulfil my appointments. 
I had agreed to meet the Ong Khyoung church to-morrow. It is a 
long walk for one day, and will keep me from my family at least five 
days longer. I decide to go on, having but little hope of finding the 
babe alive on my return. After a very hard day's walk, over rocks 
and mountains, and through swamps, arrived at Ong Khyoung. The 
people soon assembled in their new and commodious chapel ; and, 
after singing a hymn, I forgot the fatigues of the day. 

" 18th. — A covenant meeting and preparatory lecture in the morn- 
ing. In the afternoon, ordained Tway Po. I examined him, and 
offered the consecrating prayer, laying on hands with Myat Kyau. 
Myat Kyau gave the charge, and hand of fellowship. His address 
was fraught with piety and good sense, and adapted to the wants of 
the new pastor. Perhaps, were it written, it would not attract much 
attention as a literary production. It was not remarkably brilliant, 
but just what we should expect a pious, godly Karen would say to his 
brother under such circumstances. After these services we assem- 
bled at the water-side, and the two pastors baptized fifteen converts. 
I stood on the shore, a spectator, and repeated the loud 'amen.' 
During the evening the pastors administered the Lord's Supper, and 
gave each a short lecture to the Christians. And now my work here 
is done for the present; and my thoughts are turned towards Gwa, 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. 77 

the sick child, and the lonely mother. The distance cannot be more 
than fifty miles ; and, with a good path, I might hope to reach them 
in one day and night. But such a road ! It is impossible to give any 
just conception of it." 

At one o'clock the next morning Mr. Abbott left Ong 
Khyoung for Gwa, where he arrived early on the 20th. The 
child was yet alive, though greatly reduced by the fever. The 
following week Mr. Abbott returned to Ong Khyoung, visiting 
the place again in April, from Sandoway. 

" Gwa, Jan. 22, 1843. — My fears for the people who came to the 
meeting at Baumee were not unfounded. A letter has just arrived, 
which states that several families, men, women, and children, were 
taken by the officers before they reached their homes. The parents 
and other relatives of Bleh Po were included. The men were dread- 
fully beaten, and bound with iron fetters ; the women were put into a 
boat, anchored in the middle of a river ; the young children, left cry- 
ing on the shore, within hearing of their mothers. Poor creatures ! 
they are beyond the help of mortal arm, and need to exercise great 
faith and patience. The men exhibited a noble fortitude under their 
beatings. Some of them, even while being beaten, prayed to God 
with a loud voice, much to the astonishment of their persecutors. 
One of them, Shan Byu by name, was asked by an officer, among 
other things, if he worshipped Jesus Christ. 'Yes,' was the prompt 
reply. — 'Well, you must worship no more.' — 'I shall worship him 
though you kill me,' returned the fearless disciple. The officer said, 
'These Karen Christians are ieh ket the (a very hard case).' Shan 
Byu is a specimen of a class who would doubtless die rather than 
equivocate. There are others, who, when asked whether they w T ere 
disciples, have answered, ' Xo ; ' and afterwards we hear of their repent- 
ance and confession. It is not for man to judge. 

" 25th. — News again from the prisoners. Several have been libera- 
ted by an officer in who6e district they were taken. Some think him 
to be a Christian. However that may be, he has certainly favored 
the converts now. As Bleh Po's relatives, including women and chil- 
dren, were apprehended by officers from Bassein, and spies who hope 
for a reward, they are taken to Bassein. Walking from the boats to 
the prison, through a dense crowd, the women were chained together, 
two and two, the chain around an ankle of each. Their sufferings 



78 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

■will be inconceivable to any one "who has never seen a Bunnan prison, 
and knows nothing of its discipline. They will be dependent on the 
pittance doled out by the most compassionate of their ruthless foes. 
There are several children but a few months old. These and their 
poor mothers excite the deepest sympathy. As to the men, they are 
nearly all ' substantial men,' and a few weeks' imprisonment may be 
only salutary. My own feelings can hardly be appreciated. 

"27th. — Nearly all who accompanied us to the jungle, are pros- 
trated with fever. Our son is a little better. God is merciful. At 
a late hour last evening, there were Karens sitting about the room, 
some from Rangoon, others from Bassein and the hills, conversing as 
to the sufferings of their brethren now in prison, — what would proba- 
bly be their fate; how they would endure; and, if killed, whether 
they would meet death joyfully. While speaking on this point, one 
of the assistants gave an account of the death of an old woman, a few 
days since, at Baumee, — one of the happiest deaths of which I have 
heard among the Karens. I have seen many of them pass away, and 
generally they have no ecstasies and no fears : they die resigned to 
the will of God. ' God will take care of me,' is generally the answer 
to questions as to their exercises. This old woman had been a Chris- 
tian several years, and was much given to prayer. She was sensible 
of the approach of death for several days, and rejoiced at the pros- 
pect. 'I have been looking for the coming of Christ to judgment, 
but shall die and not see the day; but,' she continued, 'I shall go to 
see him.' She exhibited that divine joy, that brightening of the 
powers of the soul, that foretaste of glory, which sometimes precede 
the death-hour. After this story another of the assistants said, ' Such 
happy deaths are becoming more frequent ; ' and then he gave the 
particulars of several such cases which had fallen under his observa- 
tion. After he had ceased another went on to tell of the happy 
deaths he had witnessed; and then another, and another still, till a 
very late hour. I listened to their narrations with delighted surprise. 
Such resignation, such unshaken confidence in God, such bright and 
sure hopes of heavenly joy, light from eternity beaming down upon 
souls just emerged from midnight darkness, — it was one of the hap- 
piest evenings of my life." 

As nearly fort}- years have elapsed since the writing of this 
journal, the following hitherto unpublished reference to the 
distinguished Gen. Sir A. P. Phayre, afterwards the first chief 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. 79 

commissioner of British Burma, governor of Mauritius, etc., 
will be pardoned. All of the earlier missionaries in Burma 
experienced his kindness, and could heartily indorse the ex- 
pressions of Mr. Abbott. 

" Onff Khyoung, Jan. 30. — I have come down to meet the senior 
assistant commissioner of Sandoway, Mr. Phayre, who is making 
a tour through his district, to hear the complaints of the poor, and 
look after the interests of government. He is a generous-hearted, 
amiable man, as well as a scholar and gentleman ; and he renders the 
mission essential aid. We are making arrangements relative to Karen 
villages, in anticipation of the arrival of emigrants from Burma. We 
could do nothing without his assistance. 

" Feb. 2. — Mr. Phayre arrived. A head man is appointed over the 
Christian village. Complaints are heard, and grievances redressed. 

" 5th. — Arrived at Baumee chapel with Mr. Phayre. Heard from 
the prisoners. Gloomy prospects. Poor creatures are starving. One 
of the assistants, a young man just beginning to preach, on being 
asked by an officer if he worshipped Jesus, replied ' No.' I have not 
seen him since. Notwithstanding his denial, he may be a real Chris- 
tian. 

" Gwa, 7th. — Arrived here this morning, a little past sunrise ; and, 
at evening, came on board a beautiful new government schooner, 
bound for Sandoway. Mr. Phayre returns by land, and very kindly 
offered to Mrs. Abbott and family the use of his vessel. As I have 
no object in going by land, I prefer the sea." 

To this great kindness Mr. Phayre soon after added a per- 
sonal donation of two hundred rupees, for the benefit of the 
mission. The journal continues : — 

" Sandoway, lfyth. — Arrived after a very unpleasant voyage of 
seven days. The small-pox is sweeping off the people here in large 
numbers. An old Karen woman died on our compound but two days 
ago. She was one of the brightest specimens of the triumphs of the 
gospel that I have ever seen. 'Died praying, praying.' Vaccine 
being unattainable, we must inoculate our children. 

"25th. — Heard from the prisoners. Their sufferings are not severe, 
except from hunger. Bleh Po's aged mother was allowed by the 
jailer to go out to the Karen villages to beg rice. She returned with 



80 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

all she durst bring; and the jailer took it almost all away from her, 
leaving the Karens nearly as hungry as before. They are set to 
servile labor, but complain of nothing but hunger. They will proba- 
bly be liberated, as the rulers disagree on their case. There is the 
myo-ivoon, who holds 'three swords ; ' the myo-thoo-gyee, who holds two; 
and the akouk-woon, who holds two. Then there are others, who hold 
but 'one sword.' Their relative rank and power are thus indicated. 
The first is the governor of Bassein district, so called ; i.e., he is at 
the head ; the second is governor of the city ; and the third is the 
custom-house officer. These are all appointed by the king, are afraid 
of each other, and always quarrelling. The Karens who are in prison 
live in the myo-thoo-gyee 's district. The custom-house officer, wishing 
to bring him into disgrace, sent spies into his district, and appre- 
hended the Karens. They are suffering in prison, while the officers 
are quarrelling over the subject. Shan Byu, one of the prisoners, 
said to the myo-woon in public, ' Kill us at once : we cannot bear starv- 
ing with our wives and children.' In consequence of these acts, the 
Christians are emigrating to Arakan. 

" March 8. — Our children have been mercifully preserved through 
the small-pox. Our eldest son, five years old, had it severely for 
inoculation, — more than two hundred pustules on his face, one on his 
eyeball, and his mouth filled with them. Most of those inoculated 
had but few pustules, and those small. 

"11th. — The poor captives are liberated, but it cost them five or 
six hundred rupees. After the myo-woon's order for their liberation 
was issued, the jailer had his claims to prefer, and the prison subor- 
dinates came up for a reward for their services. The Karens were told 
that they were to make the compensation required in such cases. It 
was several days before they came to a settlement. The jailer with- 
held their pittance of food, and starved them into submission. They 
were not required to give a pledge, and no orders were given them 
relative to their religion. The officers had tried to force a concession 
and had failed, and very wisely shunned another defeat. In fact, the 
government wished to release them; but a pledge was required of 
the myo-thoo-gyee in whose district they lived, to the effect that they 
were to worship the ' foreigners' God ' no more. He becomes surety 
to the government that the new religion shall be extirpated. He will 
probably tell the Karens privately, as many of the petty district offi- 
cials do, ' Worship as you like, but do it secretly, or we shall have to 
suffer for it ; ' and the Karens will worship as they please, in peace, 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. 81 

till informers bring the subject before the authorities publicly, when 
they must pay attention to it. The same scenes are liable to be 
enacted yearly. 

" But what will the end of all these things be ? The noble, fearless 
testimony which those prisoners bear to the truth has given their 
cause notoriety and character. The common people throughout the 
country generally look upon the new religion with interest, and whis- 
per their sympathy with its suffering votaries. In conversation the 
assistants speak from time to time of Burman Christians. Eternity 
will reveal them if there are any. 

" April 16. — Have just returned from Ong Khyoung. Mr. Phayre 
took me with himself in the government schooner, eight days ago, 
to make ai-rangements relative to the location, etc., of emigrants. 
Made the voyage down in thirty-six hours. Spent the sabbath with 
the people. One hundred and twenty Christian families have come 
over to that place since I was there two months ago, bringing with 
them more than two hundred buffaloes. The chapel would not con- 
tain more than one-fourth of the assembly on Sunday. They built 
booths around within hearing. Mr. Phayre is to supply them with 
[rice], and wait a year for the pay, without interest. They had just 
gathered their harvest in Burma; but the acts of government so 
alarmed them, that they left all their paddy and fled hither, on the 
assurance that food would be supplied them for a year. They will 
not find such fruitful fields, and rivers abounding in fish, this side the 
mountains ; but they find religious freedom. Here they may worship 
God in the open face of day, and not a dog move his tongue. 

"On Monday morning I staked out a new street at Ong Khyoung, 
and a location for a new and larger chapel. On that plot of ground, 
when the brushwood and grass had been cleared away, we all kneeled 
down, men, women, and children, and consecrated it to God. After 
all arrangements had been made, I gave them the parting hand, went 
on board ship, and in five days reached home. 

"22d. — Karens asking for baptism, I sent them back with a letter 
to the Magezzin pastor. An assistant arrived from Baumee. Emi- 
grants are still coming over with their buffaloes. What will become 
of the Redeemer's kingdom in Burma if these persecutions continue? 
Myat Kyau has baptized seventy or more, and Tway" Po more than 
forty, since I left them. Both are sent for from distant places, and 
they have remained with their own people scarcely two days in suc- 
cession since they were ordained. May the number of converts be 
multiplied as the drops of the morning 1 



82 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

"28th. — Shway Bo, one of the assistants from Burma, arrived. 
[Not the Pwo Karen of that name ( ?) . — Ed.] I last saw him at Gwa, 
a few days after others had been seized, and taken to Bassein. He 
arrived at Gwa just at dark ; said he had come to see me once more; 
that the officers were on his track, and that on his return he should 
give himself up, and go to prison with his brethren, and probably to 
death ; said, if he fled, the Christians in his village would suffer, but 
if he gave himself up no others of his village would be molested. 
He left me early the next morning, with a sad heart ; shook my hand, 
but said not a word. My own emotions were too deep for utterance. 
He returned, was arrested as he had anticipated, was taken before an 
officer and bound, but not beaten nor cruelly abused, as others were. 
He was confined over night, and the next day examined at great 
length. He was asked how many seasons he had been to study with 
me, what he studied, who and how many went with him, etc. All 
his answers were w r ritten down. He was told that he must not wor- 
ship in this way any more. ' I must,' was his reply. The officer did 
not threaten him, but said finally, ' Well, if you must follow this new 
religion yourself, you must not get great congregations together, and 
make a great noise preaching.' To this Shway Bo made no reply; 
and, very much to his surprise and joy, he was dismissed. It cost him 
four rupees, — the 'costs of suit,' as we should say in a civilized land. 
" He is a noted man, and, I fear, will have no rest. Three years 
ago he came to me at Sandoway, a wild, green boy. He wished to 
stay and study. I thought he had better follow the plough, but finally 
allowed him to remain. He began to improve at once, manifested an 
intense eagerness to learn, went home, and came again the next year. 
I began to hear a good report of his zeal and piety, and gave him 
liberty to preach. He came and studied again last rains, and I recog- 
nized him as an assistant, Unless I am greatly deceived, he is now 
a successful preacher, and an eminent Christian. Other such cases 
might be enumerated. Again, many who appeared very well at first, 
we have been obliged, after a trial, to dismiss. 

" Had news to-day from Tway Po. He had just returned from a 
tour to the south, whither I went last year. He baptized nearly a 
hundred, all of whom had been Christians for a number of months, 
and with whom he was well acquainted. Emigrants are still coming 
over, the number of families having increased to over two hundred. 
The comet which has appeared so suddenly and splendidly for a few 
weeks has sent consternation through the land. Many of the Chris- 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. 83 

tians partake of the alarm, and the most dreadful calamities are prog- 
nosticated." 

In a letter accompanying the preceding journal, dated May 2, 
Mr. Abbott says, — 

" My journal should be rewritten and corrected, as it is now only 
written from dates and rough notes; but I cannot rewrite it. My 
students will soon be in ; and I have their studies to prepare, lectures 
to originate, and their board, lodgings, etc., to attend to. My hands 
are full of labor, and my heart full of care, sometimes of anguish, — 
nearly a thousand baptized converts, many of them suffering under 
an iron despotism ; over two hundred families of emigrants, fugitives 
from persecution, who look to me for food till they can reap a harvest ; 
thirty native preachers to teach, guide, and govern; two ordained 
pastors to watch and tremble over; elementary books to write and 
translate, — add to this a sick family, and not a good night's rest for 
many months. I have had thoughts of calling for a colleague in the 
Karen department, but hardly know what to say. The uncertainty 
which is constantly present with me renders it impossible for me to 
be explicit in regard to it, connected also, as it is more or less, with 
the possibility of my return to Burma [Proper]. I am hoping for 
some indications of the Divine Will ; still, as things are, I can do much 
more for the Karens here than I could under the inspection, jealousy, 
and hatred of the Burman government. My coming to Arakan has 
been attended with blessed results, beyond my most sanguine hopes : 
still, I am not clear as to my future course. Had it not been for my 
family, I think I should have been in Bassein during the persecution ; 
and yet any interference on my part would have added to the suffer- 
ings of the converts, and increased the difficulties attending their 
liberation. Are we then to give up Burma? This is a question that 
thrills my soul at times, and occasions intense anxiety. I can only 
commit my way to God. May He guide us all in the way of truth 
and duty 1 " 

He closes his letter on the 14th of May thus : — 

" Have just heard of the death of Mrs. Comstock, — that dear sister, 
amiable and devoted friend, efficient missionary, lovely child of God. 
What a loss to her family, to the mission circle, to Arakan I I don't 
know what poor Comstock will do." 



84 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

In July the afflicted missionary from Ramree visited his 
sympathizing friends. Within one year from the death of Mrs. 
Comstock, two children and the thrice stricken father had fol- 
lowed her gentle spirit to the better land. Our last letter from 
Mr. Abbott this year, dated Sept. 15, contains heavy tidings. 

" In my letter of May last I gave an account of the emigration of 
Christian families from Burma to this province, and of the prospect 
of their becoming permanently located, and dwelling in peace. At 
Ong Khyoung they had erected a large and beautiful chapel. Eighty 
dwelling-houses were also completed; and the people were beginning 
to plough and sow, when the cholera broke out, and one hundred and 
thirteen persons died in a few weeks. A panic seized the poor people. 
Parents caught up their little ones in their arms, and fled to the jun- 
gles. Some of them crossed the mountains to their old homes in 
Burma: others halted at villages w T here the cholera had not yet 
appeared, and waited for the pestilence to pass away; but a great 
many died in the forests. Within two months after my last visit, 
Ong Khyoung was desolate, and their chapel had become a habitation 
of owls. 

"Forty families had settled at Magezzin. The cholera appeared 
there also. Fewer died, in proportion to their number, than in Ong 
Khyoung; but the village is quite broken up. The small villages 
around Baurnee chapel are dispersed ; and that spot, rendered sacred 
by so many tokens of God's presence, is deserted and silent. Shway 
Bay was the first victim of the pestilence, a young man, who, I had 
hoped, would become a strong pillar. I had hoped to see those Chris- 
tian villages settled, having schools, chapels, and pastors, enjoying 
the means of grace and religious liberty beyond the reach of cruel 
tyrants. I had hoped for permanency and perpetuity to the institu- 
tions of the gospel among that long oppressed people. « My thoughts 
are not as your thoughts, saith the Lord ; ' and though dark clouds 
gather over the visions of the righteous, the bow of promise appears, 
and the soul takes fast hold on 'the true sayings of God.' We still 
labor in hope. He who cometh will come, and His kingdom will 
triumph." 

In addition to the losses on the Arakan side, Mr. Abbott 
estimated that more than five hundred Karen Christians were 
swept off by cholera this year in Burma. 



ORDINATIONS. — THE KAREN EXODUS. 85 

It should here be noted, that, from the beginning of 1843, 
Rev. Mr. Vinton of Maulmain assumed charge of the Karen 
churches of Rangoon. The distance to Sandoway was found 
to be too great, and nearly all who attempted the journey 
thither from Rangoon were stricken by disease. 

It is worth while to record Mr. Abbott's list of assistants, 
and the payments to them for the year 1843. It is the earliest 
list that we have been able to find. 

" Paid Rev. Tway Po, Rs. 66 ; Rev. Myat Kyau, Rs. 60 ; Ong Sah, 
Rs. 42; Kah Gaing, Rs. 10; Shway Ro, Rs. 48; Bogalo, Rs. 40; 
Tongoo, Rs. 36; Nahkee, Rs. 40; Man Gyau, Rs. 36; Ong Thah 
(dead), Rs. 5; Wah Dee, Rs. 40; Rehthay, Rs. 36; Sau Bo, Rs. 48; 
Shway Bay (dead), Rs. 20; Mau Yay, Rs. 20; Nahyah, Rs. 36; Pah 
Yeh (reader), Rs. 5 ; Shway Too, (ditto) Rs. 17 ; two copyists (at 
Rs. 4), Rs. 44. Total for twenty Karen assistants, Rs. 649." 

In the accounts of the Arakan mission for this year, the so- 
ciety is credited with a donation of Rs. 94 from the Karen 
Christians by E. L. Abbott. His total expenditures for the 
year, for assistants, Karen and Burman school, and buildings, 
including a house for the Burman assistant at Sandoway, were 
Rs. 1,293. 



CHAPTER V. 

1844-1847. 

"All our evangelistic efforts are to aim, first, at the conversion of indi- 
vidual souls, and secondly, though contemporaneously, at the organization 
of the permanent native Christian Church, self-supporting, self-governing, 
self-extending." — Principles of the Church Missionary Society. 

It is seldom that the hand of a sovereign God is more clearly 
seen, both in judgment and in mercy, than in the history of 
the Bassein mission at this period. Karens in their native state 
are the slaves of fear. As they themselves express it, "our 
bellies are full of fear." They fear human enemies, but, most 
of all, those unseen powers of earth and air which produce 
disease and death. In instances without number, a heathen 
almost persuaded to become a follower of Christ has been 
turned from his purpose by an outbreak of cholera, or some 
other misfortune. " The spirits surely are angry at our leaving 
their worship. They are powerful and malignant. The Chris- 
tian's God may, or may not, be as powerful ; but he is good, — 
too good to do us evil. It were better for us to follow the 
way of our ancestors. If they went to hell, we, too, will go to 
hell." This has been the avowed reasoning and conclusion of 
hundreds of Karen inquirers, since the great ingatherings here 
recorded. It is plain that nothing but a mighty outpouring of 
the Divine Spirit could have kept those weak and superstitious 
souls from wavering and fall, whether under the stress of the 
sea of afflictions which befell them in 1843, or in the long-con 
tinued absence of their beloved teacher, which so soon followed. 
8G 



A TALE OF TRIUMPH AND OF WOE. 87 

To the omnipotent and ever blessed Name be the glory and ever- 
lasting praises ! Mr. Abbott writes : — 

" Magezzin, Dec. 12, 1843. — A new chapel has been erected on the 
seashore, about four hours' walk from the old village. Many houses 
in sight are falling to decay, which gives the place a desolate appear- 
ance. During the outbreak of cholera many of the inhabitants 
died, mostly the heads of families. Others returned to Burma. Only 
twenty families are left. Of the twenty-five emigrant families, only 
six remain. This is not a good location for a large village, and I 
anticipate another removal before a permanent settlement is made. 
In the evening, preached from the words, ' In the world ye shall have 
tribulation ; but be of good cheer.' Nearly every one is mourning the 
loss of friends. 

" 18th. — Preaching in the morning, and a church-meeting, pre- 
paratory to the Supper of the Lord. I preached from the text, ' I 
beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God, that ye present 
your bodies a living sacrifice,' etc. Several old men sat on the floor 
near my feet, and gazed up into my face, their countenances indi- 
cating the intensity of their feelings. On such occasions it is delight- 
ful to preach the glorious gospel of the blessed God. In the afternoon 
applicants for baptism were heard. Most of them have been Chris- 
tians two or three years. They came from Burma a few months since, 
and have delayed asking for baptism until now. I preferred that the 
pastor should baptize them, but he insisted on my doing it. Seventy- 
five were received at evening, and were baptized ; after which I as- 
sisted the pastor in administering the Lord's Supper. Two of the 
baptized, and thirty-one who had not been baptized, died of cholera. 
The church now numbers a hundred and seventy-seven members. 
They are so scattered, that they require the constant watch-care of a 
faithful pastor. A number of villages, from which but few have 
embraced the gospel, lie near. Myat Kyau has a large field before 
him, and he enters into the work like a man in earnest. 

" Ong Khyoung, 18th. — Spent four days with the Magezzin church, 
very agreeably, and, I trust, not without profit to the people. A con- 
trary wind with rain threatened to drive us out to sea, and kept us 
back, so that we did not reach this place till nine o'clock this morning. 
The first house that I came to on entering the new village was that 
of Tway Po, the pastor. He has in this shown his good sense, and a 
desire and capacity for social improvement. Perhaps a man's house 



88 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

and garden (his amount of wealth being considered), is not an unfair 
test of his relative position in the scale of civilization. The next 
building was the chapel, large and commodious, all that I could wish. 
I looked through the village, and its desolate appearance filled me 
with sorrow. Of the hundred and forty families of emigrants, only 
twenty remained. I struck the gong : the people came together, and 
I preached a funeral sermon for a hundred and twenty souls. Towards 
evening, visited each family : in nearly every one are some ill, either 
of fever or measles, or of some one of the peculiar diseases to which 
Karens are subject. One family of fifteen persons, consisting of the 
grandfather and his descendants, were all prostrated with fever. 
Their harvest was not reaped, and has been destroyed by wild animals. 
The old man told the tale of his sufferings with tears. Many are 
disheartened, and wish to leave the place. 

" Two months ago I sent a circular to the assistants to meet me 
here on an appointed day. They have all arrived but two. I preached 
to them this morning from the words of Paul to the pastors of Ephe- 
sus, Acts xx. 28. Endeavored to impress upon their minds a sense 
of their responsibilities as shepherds. Oh that they may be sanctified 
for their high calling, and strengthened to endure trials as good 
soldiers of Jesus Christ ! Sixteen assistants are publicly recognized 
and employed by the mission. The two pastors and two assistants 
live in this province, the others in Burma. On an average, they do 
not receive from the mission one-half the amount requisite for their 
support. Some of them receive nothing, being supported entirely by 
their people. The Karens are a liberal, hospitable people, and in their 
poverty and oppression can do something for the support of their 
teachers. Several hundred rupees are annually contributed. The 
'readers 'are chosen and approved by the assistants in council, and 
receive no support from the mission, except when they spend all their 
time as school-teachers. But few of them are yet prepared for that 
important work. 

" There has been a melancholy case of defection. A young man 
was approved two years ago as an assistant. 1 He maintained an 
unspotted character for a year, and gave promise of usefulness. A 
year ago his wife died. A few months after, he was guilty of lewd- 
ness with the sister of his deceased wife, and was dismissed from 

1 Mlah Wall, one of the earliest converts, and pastor of the church at 
Nau-peh-eh. 



A TALE OF TRIUMPH AND OF WC E. 89 

mission service. Still he maintained, in other respects, a fair Chris- 
tian character ; and the other assistants had hopes of his final restora- 
tion. But a few months since, he fell into the same sin again. The 
girl's mother reproached him in severe and bitter language. He be- 
came sad and melancholy. Five days afterwards an assistant went 
to his village to preach. At the evening meeting the transgressor 
was missing. Search was made, and he was found dead in a field. 
' He went out and hanged himself.' His friends then recollected that 
he had said, a few days before, that his reputation was gone ; that he 
could never again become like the other assistants. A sense of shame 
drove him to the fatal deed. But Satanic cunning has overleaped 
itself. This event is as a flaming beacon, of which the other preach- 
ers, I trust, will not soon lose sight. 

"In the morning had a church-meeting. Cases of difficulty had 
occurred between brethren which required adjudication; not serious, 
but, e.g., a man's buffaloes had broken into his neighbor's field and 
destroyed his crops, the consequence being sharp words, repeutauce, 
and confession. There were no cases of immoral conduct, and the 
people live in peace. The remainder of the day was spent in prayer 
and self-examination, preparatory to partaking of the symbols of 
the Saviour's death. At evening a hundred and fifty assembled at the 
table of the Lord. With what solemn joy does the disciple of Christ 
think of those endearing words, ' Do this in remembrance of me ! ' 
Yes, precious Saviour, we remember thine atoning blood, thy dying 
love. 

"A few months ago this church numbered a hundred and sixty- 
five. Forty- three have died, leaving a hundred and twenty-two. What 
desolation death has made in these families ! An old man comes 
to me, and sitting down before me on the floor, with eyes downcast to 
conceal his tears, begins to tell of his afflictions. Six months ago he 
had a wife and six grown-up children around him. All are dead, and 
he left, a poor, old, feeble man. A little crying infant, eight months 
old, is pointed out to me, the relic of a large family. Parents, elder 
brothers and sisters, six months ago all in health, — now all gone but 
the infant. Tway Po has baptized in all three hundred and forty -four 
during the year. How melancholy must have been those days, when 
he followed a hundred and twenty of his own villagers to the grave in 
quick succession! He has won the affection and confidence of all 
who know him. 

" 24th, Sunday. — Arrived at Great Plains yesterday. After preach- 



90 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

ing, a church-meeting. At sunset the Ong Khyoung pastor baptized 
ten, and in the evening assisted in administering the communion. 
This church numbers a hundred and eighty-four. Several have arrived 
from Burma during the year. Two have died, and two have fallen 
away. An assistant and a ' reader' are stationed here. They have a 
large chapel on the seabeach, back of which is an extensive and 
beautiful plain, well cultivated, where the village is built. The place 
has hitherto been healthy. It escaped the dreadful scourge which 
passed through Ong Khyoung; and, with the blessing of God, there is 
a prospect of permanency. If the plan of building up Karen churches 
and villages under the English government be of God, it will succeed. 
But the experiment at Ong Khyoung has taught us that our most 
sanguine hopes are liable to be blasted in a day. I have no hope of 
seeing the Karen Christians settled permanently in large villages, 
except they have buffaloes and plough the soil, instead of cutting and 
burning new fields each year. In the latter case, but few families can 
live in one place, and it is quite certain that they will remove once in 
two or three years. A very few may remain for some years in one 
place ; but, so far as my experience goes, it is not certain that a village 
will be found next year where it is this. A dozen families with buf- 
faloes will form a centre, where the pastor will reside, and where the 
chapel and schoolhouse will be erected. Great Plains is such a vil- 
lage, and Ong Khyoung also ; and others are forming. 

"Ong Khyoung, 30th. — In returning from Great Plains, the men 
rowed from village to village during the night, which gave me all of 
the day and evening to spend in the villages. A few have died since 
I was here. The hand of affliction is heavy upon them. It is wholly 
owing to the influence of the pastor, and two or three other stable 
men, that they do not scatter to the four winds. 

" In this church there is one of those ' widows indeed,' of whom 
Paul writes to Timothy. She formerly lived in Burma, and, by her 
zeal, won a reputation which threatened to involve her in serious con- 
sequences. The Burmans called her the 'woman preacher,' and she 
was marked for vengeance from the government. She wisely fled to 
Arakan, and has found here open houses and open hearts. Should a 
stranger pass through this place about one, p.m., on Saturday, he would 
hear a gong ; and, should he go by the chapel, he would see the widow 
sitting on the floor, surrounded by a group of women and children; 
and, if he could understand Karen, lie would hear from the widow's 
lips the truths of the gospel. Should he go to the sick-room, he would 



A TALE OF TRIUMPH AND OF WOE. 91 

there see her administering the consolations of religion to the suffer- 
ing and dying. She has no kindred, and lives on the charity of God's 
people. I bid her God speed with a hearty good will. 

" Baumce Chapel. — The Christians come nocking in from the ham- 
lets. Baptized eleven this morning [no date]. Twelve have died 
during the year, including their pastor, Shway Bay. The present 
number is a hundred and fourteen. They are so scattered that it is 
impossible to collect a large number of children in a day-school. An 
assistant and reader are stationed here. But few have come over from 
Burma to meet me here this year. I have discouraged their coming 
in large companies. 

" Jan. 7, Sabbath. — Spent yesterday and to-day with the Christians 
at Magezzin ; have this evening given them my parting counsel, and 
am now ready to start for Sandoway. Myat Kyau is going into 
Burma. The Christians have been calling him from a great many 
villages, especially from the region that I visited in 1S37. The con- 
verts there have not been molested for some months. Burmese offi- 
cers frequently go into their assemblies, look on, and say nothing, — 
a calm which to me is rather threatening. 

"I took Myat Kyau away into the jungle, and sat down with him 
on a large stone, and gave him my last words of advice. He will 
probably be absent several months, and a great number will apply 
for baptism. I have confidence in his discretion and judgment: he 
has received the best instruction I am capable of giving him, re-iterated 
and enforced. He has seen my manner of procedure for years, and 
although he may be more liable to err than I, will be less liable to be 
deceived; for he is a Karen, can go from house to house, and can 
ascertain the character of individuals to better advantage than any 
foreign missionary. I shall follow him with my unceasing anxieties 
and fervent prayers. Could I make my voice heard through the 
American churches this evening, I would say, ' Pray for us.' Pray for 
these pastors, pray for the native preachers, pray for these churches, 
pray for the people of God in Burma, groaning in bondage, pray that 
a day of salvation and deliverance may dawn, — pray, pray, pray ! 

"I have long seen the importance of establishing day-schools in 
all the Christian villages. It is possible to collect but a small part of 
the children into boarding-schools : and, were it practicable, I would 
not deem it advisable ; as, in my opinion, the plan of day-schools, well 
carried out, is better adapted to the end contemplated. In boarding- 
schools my object has been to instruct assistants and school-teachers. 



92 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

There are three day-schools in operation this season, taught by com- 
petent teachers, — one at Great Plains, one at Ong Khyoung, and one 
at Magezzin. There are other schools also, of from six to a dozen 
children each, in the smaller villages, conducted by men who will not 
do much more than teach reading and writing. I regard schools as 
one of our most efficient instrumentalities. 

" Sandoicay, 14th. — Arrived at home. My family had arrived from 
Akyab some time previous. The loving-kindness of the Lord has 
followed us, and his mercy endureth forever. 

" Feb. 23. Returned yesterday, after an absence of a month. 
Went in company with Capt. Phayre. He put me on shore at Ong 
Khyoung, where I remained six or eight days, administering medi- 
cine to the sick. Went across country to Baumee chapel. The 
Christians in the nearer villages on the Burman side, having heard 
of my arrival, came over, a hundred or more, men and women. 
Held meetings there several days, and Tway Po baptized thirty-seven. 
Came down Baumee River ; stopped at Magezzin several days, and 
baptized eleven. Captain Phayre came along from the south. I 
accompanied him to Gwa ; and then he gave me his vessel to return 
to Sandoway, he returning by land. 

" April 25. Received the following letter from Myat Kyau : — 

" ' Great is the grace of the eternal God I Thus by the great love of our 
Lord Jesus Christ, more than 1,550 have joined themselves to the Father, 
Son, and Holy Ghost. 

" ' I, Myat Kyau and Ong Sah, 1 we two went forth, God opened our 
way, and we went in peace and joy. O teacher! we think of what 
the teacher told us, that, if we always set God before us, he will open 
our way and sustain us. 

" ' Moreover, we went to Bassein city, and there we met a Beringee 
teacher (a Roman-Catholic priest) ; and lie talked to us, and said, 
""What you are doing is not proper." And we asked, "Why not?" 
And he said, " Why do you not baptize all, old men, and children, and 
infants?" And we answered and said, "Not so. The Lord Jesus 
Christ has said that whosoever does not repent cannot enter the 
kingdom of God." And that Beringee man disputed with us all day. 
O teacher! that we may be able to dispute, pray for us.' 

1 This Ong Sah, or Oo Sah, was ordained, in 185G, as pastor of the large 
church in Mee-thway-dike, which lie served till his death in 1868. He was 
a good man. On this memorable tour he followed Myat Kyau in a strictly 
subordinate relation. 



A TALE OF TRIUMPH AND OF WOE. 93 

" A laconic letter, but full of good news. Myat Kyau was absent 
four months. He went to the Irrawaddy north of Rangoon, spending 
several days, and baptizing in each Christian village. He was not 
molested in the least ; and, since his return, I have heard of no perse- 
cution following his labors. That great multitude baptized are like 
sheep in the wilderness, but the Shepherd of Israel slumbereth not. 

" May 3. Have just heard of the death of brother Comstock. He 
was with us, a few weeks since, in good health, and full of hope respect- 
ing the success of the gospel at Ramree. Certainly the signs of the 
times there were full of promise. . . . Brother Comstock is dead. 
"Who will take his place? "Who will come over into Macedonia and 
help us? God of mercy, we put our trust in thee. May thy word, 
which hath been published at Ramree, not return to thee void ! 

"June 10. — My time is entirely devoted to my boarding-school. — 
the two pastors, fourteen native preachers, several young men prepar- 
ing for school teachers, and others from new villages, to the number 
of fifty. I deemed it important that the pastors and assistants leave 
their people, and devote themselves to study another season under my 
instruction. A great number of Christian villages are destitute, ex- 
cept as some one from among themselves conducts public worship. 
More native preachers are needed, and more money, to aid, in part, 
towards their support. To educate a native ministry, I consider now 
the most important department of the Karen mission." 

In a private letter to the secretary, accompanying his journal, 
Mr. Abbott writes : — 

" Mrs. Abbott frequently says to me, ' My dear, do you not think 
there should be two Karen missionaries here ? Supposing you should 
be taken away ! ' And I leave the question for the Board to answer. 
I endeavor to communicate facts; and as Maulmain and Tavoy are 
amply supplied (comparatively), I do not deem it necessary to say 
more." 

The above journal, closing with the words, "to educate a 
native ministry," etc., and the thrilling news of fifteen hundred 
and fifty baptisms by Myat Kyau in cruel Burma, had not 
reached America at the time of the meeting of the Triennial 
Convention in Philadelphia, in April, 1844: Enough was 
known, however, of the magnitude and promise of Abbott's 



94 BASSEJN KAREN MISSION. 

work, to excite the deepest interest and solicitude of that large 
representative assembly. 

The commitee on Asiatic missions consisted of Rev. Messrs. 
Jeter, Kennard, J. W. Parker, Devan, and "W. W. Everts. 
Their report contained the following : — 

" Your committee are of opinion that the Karen mission should 
receive particular attention. The Karens are a people prepared for 
the Lord. An abundant harvest invites the reaper to thrust in his 
sickle. Several missionaries should be sent as early as possible to 
Arakan, to labor among the Karens. It is worthy of serious considera- 
tion whether (he school for Karens should not be located in Arakan, 
instead of Maulmain. [Italics by the Ed.] In Arakan and the adjoin- 
ing provinces, the Karen converts are more numerous than in the 
vicinity of Maulmain. And the missions in the former need, more 
than in the latter place, the encouragement and advantages which 
would be afforded by the contiguity of such an institution." 

After some discussion, the report was adopted by the con- 
vention. Rev. Dr. Binuey at that very time was arriving in 
Maulmain, with instructions from the Board to establish the 
Karen Theological Seminary in that vicinity. A special com- 
mittee, therefore, was appointed, consisting of Rev. Messrs. 
Colver, Peck, Kincaid, Ives, and Bailey, to take into considera- 
tion the expediency of the establishment of the seminary at 
Maulmain. At the close of the meetings they " reported that 
they had not been able to prepare their report, and requested 
to be discharged." They were accordingly discharged. (See 
"Missionary Magazine," July, 1844, pp. 157, 158, 164, 165, 
and 173.) 

Although the time had not then come for the transfer of 
the general Karen school westward, this intuitive judgment 
of the American Baptist Triennial Convention seems to have had 
much truth and wisdom behind it. Had Bassein itself then been 
open, the projected institution would have been unanimously 
established in that place, with great advantage to the entire 
Karen field. As it was, Abbott himself was not in favor of 



a tali: of triumph and of woe. 95 

placing the general school at Sandoway ; and the subject was 
allowed to rest for another decade. 

The school of fifty native assistants, and others preparing 
for that service in Sandoway, was dismissed in August, after 
the prescribed course of study was completed. The excellent 
doctrinal catechism prepared by Mr. Abbott was now available, 
and in use in Tavoy and other places, as well as in his own 
school. He writes at this time : — 

" The field and demand [for qualified laborers] is increasing very 
fast; and I am happy to say that the native preachers generally are 
doing as well as I could expect. The pastors give me no cause for 
uneasiness. May God preserve and guide them all, and save his heri- 
tage ! " 

All too soon, however, the exhausting marches, the sleepless 
nights, the preaching, the endless talk, the overwhelming cares 
and labors of the past three years, had done their sad work 
upon the body of the devoted missionaiy, as well as their 
blessed work upon his spirit. His health during the rains was 
so alarming, that a journey to Akyab to consult a skilful physi- 
cian was determined upon. The first intimation of danger was 
given to the public in the " Magazine " for March, 1845 : — 

" Arakan. — Our last advices from Akyab are of Oct. 11. Mis- 
sionaries in good health, except Mr. Abbott, who had been ill several 
months, but was apparently recovering. Mr. Abbott was at Akyab 
at the above date, but would return to Sandoway in a few days." 

The number for April contained much graver intelligence : — 

" Arakan. — It appears from a late letter of Mr. Abbott, that his 
sickness is of a more alarming nature than was intimated in our last, 
and the promise of recovery more faint. Will not the friends of mis- 
sions remember his case in fervent prayer? and will they not also 
answer the appeal for help which comes to them as from the sides 
of the grave ? " 

Mr. Abbott himself writes, Oct. 26 : — 

" The Akyab physician tells me I have the seeds of consumption, 
forbids me to preach, and advises a voyage to Singapore. I had a 



96 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

cough throughout the rains, with bad pulmonary symptoms during 
the month of August. That exhausting process went on till Septem- 
ber, when I had a fever ; since which I have been a little better. My 
cough still continues, and my throat and lungs are so affected I can- 
not preach if I would. But I must meet my assistants at Ong Khyoung, 
Dec. 20. If I am able to get there in a boat, I must go. It w 7 ill then 
be cold weather ; in the jungles, moreover, as here in Sandoway also, 
I have always been obliged to preach in the open air, often during 
a great part of the night, in a cold, damp, foggy air, perhaps with a 
wind blowing into my face. I have had a sore throat after such 
times, but nothing like what I have now. I shall not be able, I fear, 
to preach to the Karens this season, even if I am able to go to their 
chapels. Were this certain, I should still go and meet the assistants, 
as preaching is but one of the tilings to be done at those annual 
meetings. A few weeks or months will determine my destiny. 

"I suppose the Board will not now hesitate to send a man to this 
station, to fill my place, immediately. I may live some time, but fear 
I shall be worthless if I do. If this pulmonary affection goes on, 
what can I do, even if I live some time? And to leave the three 
thousand baptized, the thirty native preachers, and the two ordained 
pastors here, as sheep in the wilderness, — oh, how utterly vain to 
attempt to express the emotions of my soul ! Can any finite being- 
know ? Never! Will the Board send a Karen missionary to Sando- 
way? That I may know what to tell the people, if I live to get an 
answer, I wish the secretary to write me overland, on the reception of 
this ; and, if then alive, I shall wish to write to the man who will come 
here, so that the letter may reach him before he leaves Boston. Xow 
that the weather is mild, I am gaining strength, and some of the 
fearful symptoms are disappearing. I am comfortable, and only want 
that perfect assurance to be resigned and happy. I hope and trust in 
Jesus, but sometimes have doubts ; otherwise, all is well. 

" On the 12th of August we consigned to the grave a son, fifteen 
months old, a hale, happy, beautiful boy, just the one we did not 
expect w^as going to die. Removed from us to the bosom of God ! 
How consoling! and we have nothing to say. Oh, how sweet is sub- 
mission ! " 

Thus, in the very hour of victory, ere a tithe of the fruits of 
victory have been gathered, the leader of the host on those 
shores is laid low. So mysterious are God's dealings with the 






A TALE OF TRIUMPII AND OF WOE. 97 

frail children of men. In answer to the prayers of a multi- 
tude, in rude Karen as well as iu his native tongue, the much 
afflicted man rallies once more ; but the disease will never relax 
its hold until the end is accomplished. 

The expenses of the Sandoway mission, charged to the society 
for the 3*ear 1844, were Rs. 1,375-8. In this sum was included 
Rs. 961 for Karen assistants, thirty-six of whom received, on 
an average, twenty-six rupees and a fraction each. Ten Bur- 
man assistants in the Arakan mission received for the same 
time Rs. 804-7. 

Notwithstanding the very grave condition of his throat and 
lungs, Mr. Abbott, as we have seen, could not give up a last 
meeting with the " beloved men " at Ong Khyoung. The self- 
foi'getful, self-sacrificing wife and mother insists upon accom- 
panying her loved one, to nurse and comfort, perchance to bury 
him on some desolate beach or woody hill. Capt. Phayre again 
does all in his power for the comfort of the family, and they 
depart on their errand of mercy to the Karens. During their 
absence, both of the children were quite ill of fever, and their 
mother suffered not a little from neuralgia. Mr. Abbott's health, 
so far from being injured by his labors in preaching, appeared, 
on the contrary, to improve. Mrs. Abbott, in her last letter to 
a friend, says, — 

' ' You are aware that I went to take care of Mr. Abbott ; 
but, strange to say, he became nurse, and I and the children 
patients, for a good part of the time." After giving an account 
of the very interes.ting meetings at Ong Khyoung, and then of 
the distressing illness of the children, she remarks of herself, 
" I am but just able to drag about, though I have no disease in 
particular. Ascending a short flight of stairs puts me so out 
of breath, that it is with difficulty that I can speak for a quar- 
ter of an hour afterwards." 

At this time little did any one think that the faithful, loving 
woman would be the first to die. But let the stricken husband 
tell the story. Basseiu Karens at least will be thankful to read 
the smallest details ; for this was a part of the great price paid 
for then reclamation to Christ. 



98 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

Sandowat, Feb. 7, 1S45. 
Eev. S. Peck, D.D., Corresponding Secretary. 

Reverend and dear Sir, — Mrs. Abbott is no more ! She expired ou 
the evening of the 27th ult., after a painful illness of four days. 
Death has again entered my household ; and, through the mysterious 
dispensations of God, the Arakan mission is again clad in mourning. 
May these repeated afflictions become the blessed instrumentalities of 
our entire sanctification, and be overruled to the promotion of the 
glorious cause in which so many faithful laborers are sacrificing their 
lives ! 

As a few particulars respecting the last illness of Mrs. Abbott may 
be desirable, I give a hasty sketch. In November we left Sandoway to 
visit the Karen villages down the coast. We had a government vessel 
with excellent accommodations. As my health was bad, and Mrs. 
Abbott feared I might die in the jungles, she insisted on accompanying 
me. We went down to Great Plains, calling at the villages on the 
coast ; and, on our return, spent a month at Ong Khyoung, in a small 
house which the Karens had built on the beach for our reception. 
While there, Mrs. Abbott had an attack of jungle-fever, from whicli 
she recovered in a few days ; and on our arrival at Sandoway, Jan. 19, 
she was as well as usual, expecting her confinement in five or six 
weeks. On the 24th, five days after our return, she had another attack 
of the same fever, during the first paroxysm of which she vomited 
violently, which caused her the most excruciating, indescribable pain 
at the heart. She said the pain was such as she had hitherto had no 
conception of, and that it produced a dreadful sensation, — a kind of 
breaking-up of the very fountain of life. She soon began to breathe 
with the utmost difficulty, every breath causing intense pain. It was 
evident that some of the vital organs had suffered a fatal injury. The 
painful gasping for breath continued through the day, with fever ; and 
at evening she gave birth to a son. We then hoped that the fearful 
symptoms would abate, but not in the least. During the three suc- 
ceeding days she suffered indescribable agony : her groans and cries, 
at every breath, could be heard at a long distance from the house. 
Fever continued, and a thirst that was impossible to quench. Nature 
could endure no longer; and, on the evening of the 27th, she fell 
asleep. Her sanctified spirit, emancipated, winged its way to the 
world of light and glory. . . . Who, for one moment, would detain a 
child of God in this dark world, away from the beatific fruition of 
heaven, and the open visions of the Godhead I I sorrow not for the 
dead. 



A TALE OF TRIUMTn AND OF WOE. 99 

Mrs. Abbott said but little during her illness : indeed, except at 
short intervals, she could not utter a word. She was conscious that 
the time of her departure had come, was perfectly resigned, and, 
consequently, perfectly happy. She bore her dreadful sufferings with 
all that calm fortitude which was so prominent in her character, and 
which bore her up during so many years of privation, suffering, and 
toil. The infant is still alive, but is a poor, feeble creature. . . . 

My own health was better. During November and December, 
while at sea and in Ong Khyoung, I improved rapidly. I regained 
the use of my voice to a good degree ; so that during the association 
of native preachers I preached all the time, day and night, for several 
days, and do not think it hurt me at all. Since my return, before and 
since Mrs. Abbott's death, I have been rather going down again. Am 
now using Jayne's Expectorant, and awaiting results. The gentlemen 
here say they never expected to see me return from my trip to the 
jungle. I really do not see cause for great alarm, and think that a 
sea-voyage of a few months, so far as human means are concerned, 
would bring me up again. But I cannot leave my children. ... I 
intend to go to Kyouk Pyoo, and see what the change and sea-air will 
effect. And then, indeed, what then? What can I do among the 
Karens, two hundred miles away on the hills, with my small family to 
nurse, and with my health ? I must come to some conclusion soon. 
If I live, will write again from Kyouk Pyoo. 

I have much to write to the Board. All my notes of the associa- 
tion at Ong Khyoung are in pencil, and no one can decipher them but 
myself. The events at that meeting and others give those solid 
grounds for encouragement which we all so much desire to see. All 
are to me of the most interesting character ; but when I shall be able 
to give them to you, it is impossible to say. Where is brother 
Kincaid? I trust the Board will hear that distressing call from Ilam- 
ree, and not detain him in America longer than is necessary. . . . 
Ever yours in the bonds of the gospel, 

E. L. Abbott. 

Mr. Abbott's account of the most interesting meetings at 
Ong Khyoung was, we believe, never written. He also speaks 
in a previous letter of having in hand Myat Kjau's journal of 
the great mission to Burma, which he intended to translate for 
the Board. His time and strength, however, were not suffi- 



100 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

cient ; and hence the particulars of that "triumphal tour," as 
it was called, will never be known by us upon earth. To what 
villages those fifteen hundred and fifty believers which he bap- 
tized belonged, what the history of their conversion and of the 
persecutions the}' had undergone, what the thousand scenes of 
thrilling interest in which this lowly man of God doubtless 
mingled, neither we ma3 T know, nor those more deeply inter- 
ested, the descendants of those earliest Bassein converts. 
For two long years and more those poor sheep must be left 
alone in the wilderness, exposed to a thousand enemies, but 
safe with God for their protector. 

Leaving the desolate home and the graves in Sancloway on 
the 26th of February, Mr. Abbott arrived in Kyouk Pyoo with 
his motherless children March 2. The poor infant died just 
after their arrival. The eldest boy, of seven, was very ill ; 
and the physician said that the only hope of his life was in 
a sea- voyage. The missionary accordingly took passage for 
Calcutta, arriving on the 24th. From thence he secured pas- 
sage in the first ship that offered, the Clifton, bound for Lon- 
don. He had but three days in which to prepare an outfit 
for himself and children ; but he found time to write to the 
secretary : — 

" T am miserable — cough, cough. Still, I do not think that I have 
consumption. ... I left Arakan with a sad heart. The Karens are 
so dependent. Brother Stilson has agreed to meet with the association 
at Ong Khyoung in January, 1846. ... If the Board have not sent 
me a colleague, I suppose they -will wait till my arrival. ... As life 
is uncertain, this may be my last to the Board. Send a man to 
Sandoway. . . . Christ is my only hope ; and oh, how rich is his grace 
to such a poor sinner as I ! " 

Writing from Cape Town on the 23d of June, he says that 
his pulmonary symptoms had been really alarming, and, another 
disease setting in, left him doubtful, at one time, of living to 
reach England. The children were both still feeble. He hopes, 
if possible, to reach home and set out again on his return before 



A TALE OF TRIUMPH AND OF WOE. 101 

winter, so as to reach Arakan, and "look after those twenty- 
six churches and their pastors before the rains of the coming 
summer." London was reached Sept. 17, all in improved 
health. " Were it not for my motherless children," he writes, 
"I would now set my face towards the Karen jungles, without 
a moment's hesitation." The people of his adoption were 
dearer to him than friends and native countiy. He landed in 
New York Nov. 14, just in time for the special meeting of the 
old Convention, which resulted in the formation of the new 
" Missionary Union." His remarks on that occasion, as well 
as those of the venerable Dr. Judson, are said to have been 
listened to with profound interest. 

An excellent home for the children was found with an aunt 
in Fulton, N.Y. ; and Mr. Abbott gave himself, even beyond 
his strength, to developing a missionary spirit among the 
churches. His labors were excessive, and his prostration at 
times was great. The effect of his visits and eloquent ad- 
dresses was unusually deep and permanent. In Philadelphia he 
says, " Our meetings, night after night, resemble the best hours 
of the convention at New York." But, in the midst of his 
success, his throat became so much affected that he could only 
speak in a low voice. May 26, 1846, he is resting at Williams- 
burg, L.I., unable to attend public meetings in Boston. He 
was then intending to start, in five or six days,- for Vermont, 
to attend " Brother Beecher's ordination." He was still deter- 
mined to return to Sandoway at the earliest day possible. Rev. 
Mr. Beecher, under appointment to Sandoway, sailed with Dr. 
Judson and others for Maulmain, via the Cape, July 11, 1846. 
Unable to go with this party, Abbott pleads most earnestly to 
be sent overland, Sept. 1, so as to reach Calcutta by the 1st of 
December : — 

" A missionary is standing at the door of the Mission Rooms, beg- 
ging that he may be sent out to India by the mail-route, in order that 
he may be there in time to secure a year's labor among some thirty 
native churches, of more than four thousand members, with their 
pastors, who are without a guide and counsellor in their weakness and 



102 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

ignorance ; among whom Catholic priests are making desperate efforts 
to seduce them from their faith, and to subject them to the Romish 
ritual. And this is the only missionary to those churches, and the 
mail-route the only way to secure that year's labor and influence. 
Look at it a moment 1 The Board will never be called upon to delib- 
erate on another such case, never ; so that the precedent will be harm- 
less." 

But all his appeals were in vain. Owing to the precarious 
state of his health and to financial reasons, the Board did not 
deem it wise to send him out that year. Deeply disappointed, 
the missionary submits with Christian resignation. 

Meanwhile, what of the Lord's little ones in Bassein? We 
have eveiy reason to believe that the work went on, perhaps 
with undiminished power ; but no connected account can be 
given of the welfare or progress of the Christians. Mr. Stilson 
probably failed to reach the association in Ong Khyoung at the 
beo'innino; of 1840. "We know that some communication was 
had with the Sandoway and Bassein assistants : for the Arakan 
mission accounts show Rs. 510, paid to 34 Karen assistants, 
and Rs. 884. paid to 10 Burman assistants, 1 for the }*ear 1840 ; 
Rs. 233 paid to Karens, and Rs. 880 paid to Burmans, for the 
year 1846 ; and Rs. 169 paid to Karens, and Rs. 843 paid to 
Burmans. for the 3-ear 1847. This year, also, the Akyab trea- 
surer credits the Missionary Union with a " donation from the 
Karen disciples of Bassein," Rs. 36-12 in Burman silver, 
which exchanged for Rs. 29-8 in English money. 

In 1846 Mr. Ingalls visited Sandoway, but we have no 
account of his reaching the Karen villages. Most of the com- 
munication was kept up, probably, by the Karens themselves 
making the long journey up the coast, from Sandoway to 
Akyab. We have met a few Karens, who, as lads, attended 

1 To set the full force of these figures, it should be observed, that, 
notwithstanding the liberal expenditure of money, lives, and earnest, 
prayerful labor on the Burman Missions in Arakan, no permanent Chris- 
tian communities were established. The small churches formed iu Akyab, 
Eamree and Kyouk Pyoo long since lost their visibility. 



A TALE OF TRIUMPH AND OF WOE. 103 

the mission-school in the latter town. My at Kyau reported the 
baptism of a hundred and fifty Karens in one tour in 1845 ; 
still later, the baptism of six hundred not previously reported 
is announced. In 1846 either Myat Kyau or Tway Po passed 
over into Rangoon, and baptized a large number. Miss M. 
Vinton writes from Maulmain, April 3, as follows : — 

"I have heard one item of intelligence which cannot fail to inter- 
est you. A large company of Karens arrived to-day from Rangoon, 
saying that one of the ordained preachers from Sandoway came over 
last month, and baptized three hundred and seventy-two Karens at 
one time, who had long been worshippers of the true God, and wait- 
ing for the ordinance. "We have cause for rejoicing, and, at the same 
time, for weeping: for rejoicing, in that the converts to the truth 
are being multiplied ; and for weeping, that there are so few to watch 
over and teach them the way of God more pei'fectly. May God teach 
them by his Spirit, and shield them from temptation ! The number 
of Karens baptized within the present year - , in the regions of Sando- 
way, Rangoon, Tavoy, Mergui, and Maulmain, is about twelve hun- 
dred." 

Still later in the year Mr. Ingalls writes from Akyab of the 
proselyting efforts of the Roman Catholics : — 

" I am much concerned for Sandoway, especially if brother Abbott 
does not return. Several Karens are now in school here, who arrived 
since I last wrote you. They say that the gospel is now spreading far 
and wide among the Karens in Burma. The two pastors were going 
in every direction, and baptizing. The Karens at Shwaydoung, near 
Prome, are receiving the truth. The Catholics from Bassein are 
making efforts to seduce the disciples. I will translate what the 
Karen letter says on the subject : — 'I will inform you of the state of 
the Karen churches in Burma. A very great sickness prevails. Those 
that die, die ; those who are sick, are sick. The number of deaths is 
from fifty to sixty. We do not feel concern on that account, but on 
another. The Catholics have entered Bassein. The Romish priests 
are wolves, and desire to devour the sheep ; for when they find a dead 
one, i.e., one who has been turned out of the church, they seize him 
in a moment, and run off with him ; for which reason, we know them 



104 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

to be wolves. 1 The preachers of the gospel are those who take care 
of the sheep : nevertheless, if those who are wolves get in, there is no 
stopping them ; and, if the wolves can get in, as many as can will get 
in. Now, if there are not those who will carefully watch the fold, 
there is reason to fear all will be destroyed. The sheep are now being 
devoured. The wolves' words are, " The shepherd should live with 
the sheep.'" (This is said by the priests with reference to missiona- 
ries who have left their flocks, or are afraid to live in Burma.) ' These 
reproaches,' says the writer, 'we now have to bear; and the churches 
are like the stars, which cannot shine in the rainy season, or candles 
covered b'y a bushel. Wherefore, O teachers! pity the churches in the 
East, and pray much for us. O teachers ! by exhibiting compassion, 
exalt God. We have no refuge in ourselves : God alone has strength.' 
Thus does this young disciple make his urgent appeal. They dread 
the Catholics : some have gone over, and others may follow." 

Writing from Akyab, Sept. 13, 184G, Mr. Ingalls sa} T s, — 

" Two Karens who had attended school here from Bassein have 
returned home ; and I have written to the destitute disciples that a 
teacher is on his way, and that I will endeavor to meet them at their 
general meeting in January. But how I can make such a tour I 
know not. The Lord may open a way for me." 

1 The one celebrated case in Bassein, which justifies the imputation con- 
veyed in the Karen letter above, is that of the preacher Ko Dan, who was 
baptized by Mr. Abbott aiuong the first, and employed by him for a time 
as an assistant. He was afterwards convicted of fornication, and excluded. 
He then went over to the Romanists, with a considerable number of his 
relatives; and there they and their descendants have ever since remained. 
There was another preacher, Tongoo, or Too-oo, one of the earliest con- 
verts, employed by Mr. Abbott for a number of years, who was often 
admonished and finally disciplined, for beating his wife, and covetousness. 
At last he fell sick, and finding it difficult, our informants say, to support 
his family, went over to the Roman Catholics, who had the reputation at 
that time of being liberal under such circumstances. His wife and children 
went over with him; but, after his death, they returned to their old faith. 

It is due to the missionaries of that ancient church, as well as to our- 
selves, to say, that, during the last twelve years, so far as the author is 
aware, there have been few or no attempts at proselyting by either side. 
The Karen Christians as a rule are firmly attached to their respective 
teachers; and, in the case of the Baptists at least, the more intelligent they 
become, the more attached they are to the principles of their faith. 



A TALE OF TRIUMPH AND OF WOE. 105 

Early in 1847 be reports " thirt} T -two hundred and forty 
members of churches connected with twent3 T -nine out-stations ; 
Ko Myat Kyau and Ko Dway [Tvvay Po] , baptized eight hun- 
dred and twelve in 1846, including one Burman ; and fourteen 
hundred and twenty-seven are waiting for admission to the 
churches. There are five other stations from which no returns 
were made ; at one of them, a church of some fifty members." 
And thus grew the " Stone cut out without hands," which shall 
yet become a great mountain, and fill the whole land. 



CHAPTER VI. 

1848, 1849. 

" The Church must send her ablest, most highly educated, and best 
men to the heathen; for the work in the foreign field is more difficult than 
at home." — Graul. 

In May, 1847, Mr. Abbott delivered " a most affecting ad- 
dress" at the annual meeting in Cincinnati, and was at last 
permitted to take passage by steamer on the 16th of August 
for Arakan, via England and Egypt. He returned to his work 
alone ; for he contemplated an early settlement among the Karen 
villages in Burma Proper, and it did not seem to him that it 
would be right for him to subject one of his countrywomen to 
the hardships, the loneliness, and the risks of such a situation. 
The cost of travelling by the " overland " route was then about 
three times what it is at present by " canal steamers ; " but, in 
his case, the greater expense was the truest economy. Reach- 
ing Calcutta as he did on the 4th of November, he was in good 
time to do a cold season's work among his beloved Karens. 
Writing to the secretary from Calcutta on the 6th, he says, — 

" T am again permitted to renew my correspondence with you from 
a heathen land. How different are my relations to the world now 
from what they were in April, 1845, as I sat in this room, by this 
table, and wrote my last letter to the Board, announcing my departure 
for my native land! Then by my side were two puny little creatures, 
dependent for guidance and protection on a feeble father, who was 
looking to the grave for healing, while they might have to traverse 
wide oceans alone to find some one to take their father's place. . . . 
Since that day, through what varied scenes have I passed, especially 
10G 









s 



ZI/ZSLLA-; 



M\. 45. 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. 107 

in ray native land ! ' Yes, ray native land, I love thee,' — I love those 
churches and ministers of Christ in whose cordial welcome I detected 
that deep interest in the cause of missions which I received as a 
pledge, not only of future support, but also of the final triumph 
of the missionary enterprise. My native land ! What a crowd of 
images are flashing across my soul ! ' My boys,' too, are there. " 

He writes that on the voyage across the Atlantic, and in Eng- 
land, he had a severe attack of pleurisy, which ended in inflam- 
mation of the lungs and a troublesome cough. He insisted on 
embarking for India, an invalid, contrary to the advice of his 
physician and friends in London. He was warned that he 
might live to reach Egypt, but could never cross the desert 
alive. His own opinion proved correct. The trying ride of 
twenty-six hours from Alexandria to the steamer at Suez 
seemed to refresh, rather than enfeeble him ; and he reached 
Calcutta in what he calls " a good state of health." He adds, 
"I am here in good time. A steamer leaves for Arakan in 
three days, in which I embark. Brother Ingalls heard of my 
coming by last mail ; and the sound has gone out ere this 
through the Karen jungles, so that their gaze ' towards the set- 
ting sun ' for their teacher will become more and more intense." 

Rev. J. S. Beecher and wife arrived in Sandoway soon after 
Mr. Abbott, and just in season to accompany him on his first 
trip down the coast to Ong Khyoung. As Mr. Beecher will, 
from this point, hold a place of increasing importance in the 
narrative, a word of introduction is in order. A native of the 
Green-mountain State, John Sidney Beecher, like his senior, 
Abbott, was from Hamilton, that prolific mother of missionaries. 
Abbott, the father of the Bassein mission, the compiler of this 
volume never saw ; but he counts a personal acquaintance with 
Beecher as one of the pleasantest memories of his missionary 
life. In 18G6 he was tall and erect in person, rather spare, 
with a long beard and a piercing eye, evidently a man of affairs 
and accustomed to respect. There was, perhaps, a trace of 
austerity in his manner, but one soon discovered that his spirit 
was kind and true. He impressed the young missionary, then 



108 BASSE IX KAREN MISS I OX. 

connected with the Seminary at Rangoon, as not a man of 
many words, but as a manly man, a man of convictions, and a 
man of Christian honor. From his arrival in Maulmain, Dec. 5, 
184G, he had applied himself to the study of Karen. During 
the next rains he had given some assistance in the boarding- 
school of that station, teaching a class, and beginning to preach 
a little in the barbarous tongue which was to be the chief 
medium of his future labors. When he shall finally be called 
upon, by the prostration and departure of his distinguished 
predecessor and associate, to take up and carry forward the 
work in Bassein, he will be found well fitted, by his training, 
by his original powers, and by divine grace, for the heaviest 
of tasks. 1 



1 Rev. G. W. Anderson, D.D., a classmate of Mr. Beecher's, narrates 
the striking providence which sent him to Burma. Mr. Beecher was the 
president of the "Western Association," so called, and pledged, it was 
supposed, to home-mission work. Mr. Abhott had come to Hamilton in 
search of an associate. He had applied to Mr. Beecher, and must have a 
reply on the Saturday evening prior to his departure. 

" About two, p.m., brother Beecher came to my room in great perplexity. 
' I have never once thought of going to the Eastern field. I cannot decide 

to go without consulting Miss , and I have not the slightest idea as 

to her views on the subject.' I suggested writing to her, but she was in 
Chicago, and it would take more than a week to get her answer. Finally 
he thought of a lady, a friend of Ms fiancee, who might have heard some- 
thing that would help him to a just view of her feelings. He left very soon, 
and returned in about half an hour. 

" ' Did you see Miss ? ' I inquired. — ' No, I did not go there,' was 

his reply. ' Just look at this.' He then showed me a letter which he had 
just received from the lady in Chicago, — a letter which had come at an 
unusual time and by an unusual route. She had been invited by Miss Lyon, 
of Mount Holyoke Seminary, to assist her in teaching for a few weeks. 
Against opposing circumstances she had finally decided to go, and added 
to her letter these words substantially: ' I think we ought always to go 
where duty calls; and, if at any time you should come to think it your duty 
to go to an Eastern field, I should lay no difficulty in your way.' 

" ' There, Anderson,' he said, ' what do you think of that ? ' — ' I think 
you have precisely the answer you wanted; and I think you may justly 
say, ' This is the finger of God.' 

" That evening he called on Brother Abbott, and consented to go to 
Arakan. His decision was a surprise to many of his classmates and 
friends, but he never wavered. They could see that in choosing, he chose; 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. 109 

Unlike in many respects, so unlike, indeed, that perfect sym- 
pathy and accord were almost impossible between them, they 
yet attaiued substantial unanimity in their views as to the main 
lines of mission policy. Abbott's remarkable prescience and 
power are manifested especially in this : that he gave such shape 
to the work that for forty years the mission, passing through 
half a dozen different hands, never lost the impress he gave it, 
nor suffered a single break in its continuity. To this fact is 
to be attributed, under God, the rare success which has attended 
the work in Bassein. There has been no tearing down and 
attempted reconstruction of foundations and walls already well 
laid by those who wrought before ; and thus much of the deplor- 
able loss incident, and sometimes necessary no doubt, to the 
work in other missions has been avoided. 

Under date of Sandoway, Feb. 12, 1848, Mr. Abbott gives 
the following account of the meeting at Ong Khyoung and the 
information there gathered : — 

" We have just returned from a tour of six weeks. I had previ- 
ously sent a circular to Bassein, fixing a day when I would meet the 
preachers at Ong Khyoung; but sufficient time had not elapsed to 
allow the most distant to reach the place in season, so that but 
twelve of them had assembled on our arrival. When I found myself 
standing among that group of Karen brethren, and witnessed their 
intense joy at seeing me again, I forgot, for a while, the sacrifices, the 
hazards and misgivings, of the past ; and we rejoiced together, and 
offered to the Lord a song of grateful praise. 

" I was highly gratified at the indications of stability and improve- 
ment which the village gave. The pastor, Tway Po, has more than 
fulfilled my most sanguine expectations. lie has won a fair, high 
character, and acquired a commanding influence, which in meekness 
and love he consecrates unreservedly to the cause of truth. During 
my absence he baptized six hundred, making about sixteen hundred 
since his ordination. Over the churches thus established, he has 
appointed 'elders ; ' and in no case have I seen reason to question the 

and there lie stood. He was ready for any work that the Lord had for him 
to do, — to hreak up all his old plans if the Lord pointed him to a new 
course. I think that he judged and decided aright." . 



110 BASSE TN KAREN MISSION. 

wisdom of his course. He is about to remove from Ong Khyoung to 
a new village, farther south, where he hopes to build up another large 
church. 

" Myat Kyau, the other ordained pastor, has baptized five hundred 
and fifty since I left, mostly in Burma. He has formed them into 
churches, and appointed a preacher in each. He is to succeed Tway 
Po at Ong Khyoung. He is different from Tway Po, — is terribly 
severe in his denunciations of the wicked. Of an indomitable will, he 
pursues his own course, irrespective of friends or foes, and is liable to 
make enemies. Tway Po is the mild and lovely John, and has not 
an enemy in the world. Both are excellent men in their way, and I 
have never regretted that I ordained them. 

" Of the twenty-four preachers that I left, two have died, and one 
has been suspended. In the death of one of the two, Hton Byu (see 
pp. 21, 30, 38, 41, 53), the Karens have suffered a great loss, and I 
have been deeply afflicted. I picked him up in Rangoon, in 1837, a 
wild, mischievous boy from the jungles. He soon, with a few others, 
became a pet in my family, then a brilliant scholar, and a lovely 
Christian. While at Rangoon he was imprisoned for studying ' the 
white book,' but was allowed to go out every morning, under guard, 
to beg rice for the day, dragging on his ankles a pair of heavy iron 
fetters. I recollect meeting him once while thus begging. The guard 
cast a scornful glance at me, as though he would say, ' Speak at your 
peril.' Ilton Byu, as we were passing, turned towards me his beauti- 
ful, laughing eyes, as though he wished to say, ' Never mind, teacher.' 
He accompanied us to Arakan, and was finally appointed a preacher, 
and had the care of a very large church near Bassein. He was the 
best educated, and the most talented, of our native preachers. He 
had just married a young and lovely wife, and we were discussing the 
question of his ordination when I left the country ; but he is dead. 

" Min Gyau, the other deceased preacher, was a young man of fair 
promise, and the pastor of a large church in Burma. When I think 
of those beloved disciples and faithful pi - eachers who have died, and of 
the high hopes which they had aw r akened, my heart bleeds afresh; 
and I have but to turn my head, and look out of my window upon the 
rude little monument beside a larger pile of bricks, to see the emblems 
of death's handiwork [in my own family]. Yea, the last mail brought 
a letter with a black seal from America, saying, 'Your old and dear 
friend, P. B. Peck, 1 is no more.' We had been like David and Jona- 

1 Rev. Philetus B. Peck, eldest sou of Rev. John Peck, and for a long 
time pastor at Owego, N.T. 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. Ill 

than from infancy to the day I sailed for Burma. Death ! how 
deadly and cruel are thy darts ! Go on : the day of thy doom, though 
delayed, will come. 

" The remaining twenty native preachers have continued steadfast 
and immovable, abounding in the work of the Lord. All these are 
tried men, appointed before I left for America; and most of them 
are pastors of churches in Burma. In many cases they have suffered 
during my absence, as they do not feel at liberty to engage in any secu- 
lar employment. Moreover, I am sorry to be obliged to saj- that our 
appropriations are not sufficient to enable us to relieve their wants. 

" Sixteen others, appointed by the ordained pastors, have each the 
care of a church and congregation by which they are sustained. 
They were appointed provisionally, to supply an immediate demand, 
but to wait the final decision of the missionary. They are all to leave 
their churches and study with us during the coming rains, and will, 
we hope, prove themselves worthy of recognition as preachers. 

" Thus there are thirty-six preachers, besides the ordained pastors, 
to be counselled and guided, to be watched and prayed over, to 
awaken our anxieties and multiply our cares and labors, and to add 
to the expense of the mission. They have under their charge nearly 
five thousand church-members. (More than that number have been 
baptized west of Bangoon since 1837.) The two ordained pastors 
and eight of the thirty-six, with about a thousand of the converts, are 
in this province. The other twenty-eight preachers, with four thou- 
sand converts, ai'e in Burma, between the Arakan mountains and Ban- 
goon. The churches number from twenty to two hundred and fifty 
members each ; and in many of those in Burma there are large num- 
bers of candidates for baptism. 

"Moreover, there are in Burma, away to the north of Bassein and 
Bantanau, at least eight destitute districts, where twelve hundred con- 
verts are waiting for baptism ; 1 and for these eight districts, pastors 



1 Undoubtedly in the region since occupied by the Henthada mission. 
Rev. B. C. Thomas writes in February, 1S56: "On reaching Henthada, 
fifteen months ago, we thought we had come to a region where the gospel 
had not been preached; but we were mistaken. Karen evangelists had 
long since gone through both the Henthada and Tharrawaddi districts. 
Many of the assistants and private Christians of Bassein and Bangoon had 
yearly visited these districts. They had gone even to Prome, urging their 
relatives and others to accept the gospel. But the message was unheeded, 
[?] except in the south about Donabew, where some four hundred had 



112 BASSELX KAREN MISSIOX. 

are demanded immediately. A large number of school-teaeliers will 
be required, all of whom must be educated by us at considerable 
expense ; and all the pastors must, of course, study with us before 
receiving a regular appointment. Will the churches of our native 
land supply the wants of these churches? is a question which we ask 
ourselves with anxiety. Shall we be sustained in the toilsome work 
of educating the pastors, school-teachers, and the young men of these 
churches ? Many of the pastors will be located where the people can- 
not [fully] sustain them, increasing the demands upon the funds of 
the mission. 

" A few days since a Catholic priest made his appearance in San- 
doway. He was formerly in Ava, and recently in Rangoon and Maul- 
main. He understands the Karen language well, and came around 
here to act in concert with his friend in Bassein, in attempting to 
seduce the Karen Christians from us. lie had heard of my leaving 
the country, but not of my return, and supposed he would find the 
Christians without a counsellor. He is now going about among them, 
using the plausible misrepresentations which are characteristic of his 
order; but he is met and vanquished by the simple word of God. 
Half a dozen, only, from the multitudes of Christians in Bassein, have 
been seduced by them ; and they had either been excommunicated, or 
w r ere of doubtful character. 

"My recent tour was made in company with Mr. and Mrs. Beecher. 
A good many were baptized, and our visits among the churches were 
full of interest to us all. The details will be given by Mr. Beecher. 
We are now repairing our dilapidated buildings, preparatory to the 
boarding-school during the rains. The great object I had proposed 
to myself while in America, with such solicitude, is accomplished. 
Thanks be to God ! And I have but to glance back a little to mark 
signal Divine interpositions in rescuing me from the border of the 
grave, and in bearing me on through dangers and sufferings to the 



become Christians in the days of Burman rule. There were a few also bap- 
tized at the same time near Prome. Hence we found that we had come to 
a region whose inhabitants had long rejected the gospel, while many of 
their brethren, both north and south, had accepted it with joy." Is it not 
more probable, that, at the time of Abbott's writing, the Karens of Hen- 
thada were really ready to welcome the good news of salvation; but, neg- 
lected then, or debarred by circumstances from the privileges which they 
coveted, they grew cold and hard, so that when Thomas arrived, eight 
years later, they hail lost their desire ? 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. 113 

present moment. . . . Now I am more at ease. I have Mr. and Mrs. 
Beecher at my side, whose knowledge of the language will soon enable 
them to prosecute their labors with facility — good friends, desirable 
companions, and faithful fellow-laborers." 

In a postscript he adds : — 

"My health is really quite good, although I still suffer from the 
effects of the attack which I had before I left Boston and in England. 
I was enabled, while among the churches, to preach two or three times 
a day, but not without some suffering. At home I should have been 
an invalid. I have a recipe for sore throats: — Preach fourteen times 
a w T eek in the open air, and continue your sermons till midnight if 
you like." 

As the mission-house left by Mr. Abbott early in 1845 had 
gone without re-roofing for three rains, it was in a state of 
utter decay. Some of the posts were still serviceable, but nearly 
every thing else must be renewed. In rebuilding, and making 
the house barely sufficient for two families, the usual economy 
of this mission was practised. It may amaze this more prodi- 
gal generation to learn that eight hundred rupees only were 
expended for this purpose. For chapel, schoolroom, dormito- 
ries, and outhouses, of a temporary character, but sufficient to 
accommodate a school of sixty boarders, three hundred rupees 
only of mission mone} 7 were used. 

March 21 Mr. Beecher was attending to the work of building, 
and also giving " a little attention to a very promising class of 
young men in arithmetic. If there is one station," he writes, 
" that has been more abundantly blessed, that is more promis- 
ing, and more worthy of ample support, than any other, that 
station is Sandoway. . . . We very much need a }'Oiing man 

like brother [a first-rate teacher]. He would be, perhaps, 

more useful than a first-rate preacher." Thus early did Mr. 
Beecher put on record his conviction of the need of greater 
facilities for education among the thousands of Bassein con- 
verts. Most unfortunately, his appeals, as well as those of 
his associates and the Karens themselves, brought little or no 



114 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

response for many years from the unresponsive West. April 
20 Mr. Beecher writes again : — 

"The Pwo Karens are renewing their request for books, and a 
teacher to preach to them in their own language. If Maulmain needs 
four Karen mission families, Sandoway needs eight, even upon the 
supposition that our preachers shall, in the future, be educated chiefly 
at Maulmain. They are needed, not so much for preaching in person, 
as for preparing young men for the theological school, and for pre- 
paring others to go throughout Arakan and Bassein, teaching the 
children of the thousands of converts who are now asking for educa- 
tion with an eagerness that excels any thing I ever knew in our native 
land. There are now only three or four young men who are at all 
qualified for teaching. They have done well, but they say that their 
pupils now know as much as themselves ; and, with renewed zeal, they 
are asking for more instruction. ' With a little more instruction these 
men would rank among our best preachers, and they cannot much 
longer be spared from their appropriate sphere of labor. . . . The 
. old proverb, ' If parents do not educate their children, the devil 
will,' is applicable in this case. If the Board neglects to educate the 
children which God has given them in Arakan, we must expect that 
somebody else will, and who so likely to do it as the emissaries of 
Rome?" 

June 17 he writes again to the secretary, in the vigorous, 
inquisitive style which yonng missionaries sometimes indulge 
in : — 

"Will you kindly inform me as to the principles upon which the 
annual appropriations are made to the several missions and depart- 
ments of missions? AVhile there are six thousand Sgau disciples for 
one invalid fellow-laborer and myself to watch over and educate, and 
as many thousands more of Twos, who are ready to upbraid us for 
not teaching them the religion of Jesus, instead of praying that ' a 
wide and effectual door' may be opened to us, please pray the Lord, 
and pray the churches, that more laborers may be speedily sent to this 
field. Our boarding-school now numbers sixty-six. It does not num- 
ber five hundred because we strictly charged them not to come this 
year. But next year I May the Great Teacher incline more teachers 
to come, and the churches and the committee to send them ! There 
is a deeply interesting state of feeling among the Pwos, in the region 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. 115 

of Bassein, and an alarming action of the Jesuits among them. [Most 
of the strength of the Roman-Catholic Karen mission in Bassein 
to-day is among that branch of the Karen people. — Ed.] Brother 
Abbott's health is such that he lectures two or three times a day." 

The school was dismissed Aug. 8, to the great regret of the 
pupils and their teachers. Mr. Beecher again pleads the neces- 
sity of educational work, and for the pittance needful to main- 
tain at least a normal class for eight or nine months in the year. 
The average attendance for the entire term of six months was 
thirty-four. A considerable number returned to teach what they 
had learned, in their own distant villages. Mainly as a matter 
of historical interest to the Karens, we give here a list of the 
assistants recognized, and, to a small extent, aided, by the mis- 
sion, as written by Mr. Beecher at Ong Khyoung in December, 
1847. We also add the villages to which they belonged, so far 
as we have been able to ascertain them : — 

" Old Assistants. — Rev. Tway Po ; Rev. Myat Kyau ; Mau Yay, 
Kyootoo ; Sau Bo, Lehkoo ; Wah Dee, Great Plains ; Bogalo, Sinmah 
(afterwards near Kaukau Pgah) ; Shway Bo, Meethwaydike ; Nahyah, 
Kyootah ; Nahkee, Pantanau ; Ong Sah, Win-k'bah ; Myat Oung, 
Hseat Than; Sah Gay, Great Plains; Sau Ng'Too, Kweng Yah; 
Poonyat, Kyoukadin (afterwards Lehkoo) ; Sah Meh, Henthada ; 
Shway Pan. 

" New Assistants. — Moung Bo, Mohgoo ; Thway Pau (excluded) ; 
Myat Keh, Kohsoo; Mohlok, Too-p'loo and Layloo; Tway Gyau, 
Kangyee and Thahbubau; Shangalay, Tholee; Kyau Too, Naupeheh; 
Sau Kway, P'nahtheng; Shway Oo; Theh Kyoo, a Pwo pastor; 
Kroodee, Buffalo, Tindah ; Shway Bwin, school-teacher ; Shway Too, 
school-teacher; Tohlo, school-teacher, Ong Khyoung and Naupeheh; 
Shway Bau, Aumah, Xyomau; Shway Bay; Thah Gay, the martyr, 
Kyah-eng-gon ; Tau Lau, Pwo; Shway Meh, Khyoungthah, Hohlot; 
Shahshu, Mohgoo. Total, 36." 

The amount paid to these men for the year 1848 by Mr. 
Abbott was Rs. 223. Mr. Beecher also received and used 
Rs. 428-11, a part of which may have been spent upon the 
school. In the accounts of the Arakan mission for this j'ear, 



116 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

we find Rs. G3 credited to the society as a donation from 
Karens, by E. L. Abbott. The Barman assistants, ten in 
number, received Rs. 707-8 for the same period. Mr. Abbott, 
writing July 30, says, — 

" We are endeavoring to educate our clwrclies to support their own pas- 
tors. Those which are not able to do so, we aid. But we have had 
it thrown in our faces by one or two ' cross-grained ' native preachers, 
' Why do you not give us as much as they give their native preachers 
in Maulmain? ' More of this hereafter." 

In order to come to an understanding with his brethren on 
this subject of vital importance, and also to familiarize himself 
somewhat with the system of schools in Maulmain, Mr. Abbott 
made a journey to that city in September. After his return 
he save to the executive committee his views at length on the 
subject of education. He set forth powerfully the need of 
training a lar^e number of iunsle school-teachers, the need 
of thorough English education for a select class of Karens, who 
should begin the study in early 3 T outh. He also indorsed 
strongly Dr. Binney's methods of theological instruction, and 
Mrs. Binney's normal school. Of this visit, and of Mr. Ab- 
bott's power over a Karen audience, Mrs. Binney gives a charm- 
ing picture, which we quote from the ' k Missionary Magazine " 
for August, 1874 : — 

" We met Mr. Abbott only twice. The first time was in 1848, soon 
after his return from America. He came to Maulmain to make the 
acquaintance of Mr. Binney and of the theological school. He had 
urged upon the Board the importance of this w r ork, and he came to 
encourage its leader. He spent two weeks with us, and learned well 
the workings of both the theological and normal schools. He was to 
us, in our solitude, almost as an angel strengthening us. The Yin- 
tons were in America ; and we Avere with Miss Vinton at a new and 
isolated station, teaching the very elements of knowledge during the 
rains, and, during the dry season, visiting the churches in the jungle. 
The Karen language, though sufficiently familiar to enable us to use 
it fluently, was yet too new to us to be other than a foreign tongue. 
Mr. Abbott had been eight years longer in Burma. Be knew the 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. 117 

people as well as their language. I was accustomed to listen to good, 
instructive preaching in Karen, but had supposed that the language 
itself, perhaps, did not admit of that thrilling eloquence by which I 
had seen American audiences held as if spell-bound; and it was gene- 
rally supposed that Karens were apathetic, and not easily moved. 

" Mr. Abbott gave us other and truer ideas of the power of the 
Karen tongue to produce deep emotion, and of the susceptibility of 
the Karen mind to receive such emotion. On the sabbath preceding 
the day of his departure he preached his farewell sermon. He had 
asked if it would do to preach in Maulmain the duty of self-support, 
and of carrying the gospel to those still in ignorance of it, as he would 
do in Bassein. He was told that these Christians needed the truth, 
and would listen to it, whatever it might be. Besides the pupils of 
the theological school, there was a large station-school of over one hun- 
dred mixed pupils of all ages, and the normal school of about thirty 
promising youths. The Karens from all parts of the district had 
heard of his visit, and he was a magnet which drew them to him. 
For several days they came flocking in, till, on Sunday morning, the 
largest chapel was too small for them. As he rose to speak, his heart 
was too full for immediate utterance ; but he soon obtained the mas- 
tery, and brought before his hearers the most vivid panorama of their 
past, present, and hoped-for future : their past heathenish darkness, 
ignorance, oppression, sin; their present, the gospel light dawning 
upon them ; in British Burma, at least, freedom to worship the God of 
whom they had learned ; everywhere, the freedom which the gospel 
brings, and the hopes which it inspires, and with it the privilege, if 
need be, of suffering and dying for the love of Him, who, for our 
sakes, 'counted not his own life dear unto himself.' lie told them 
of the great boon now offered of a special school for the training of 
preachers and teachers to carry forward this work ; then pictured 
before them their future, if they were wise to know, and brave to 
perform, what the wonderful providence of God now required. He 
pointed to the Karens rising from their filth and degradation to the 
rank of an enlightened people, taking the lead in evangelizing the 
tribes and peoples around them, and appearing like a city on a hill, to 
which the people should gather. Finally, in view of the whole, he 
pressed upon them, in detail, the sacrifices required, the difficulties 
they would meet, the terrible consequences if they failed to meet these 
responsibilities, and their record, if they truly acted in the spirit of 
the Master who had called them to this service, 1 — all in a manner 



118 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

inimitable, perhaps unparalleled. At the close of a sermon of nearly 
two hours, during which we ' took no note of time,' or of aught else 
save the thrilling thoughts presented and the occasional sobs which 
could not be wholly suppressed, he sat down entirely exhausted. 

" We took him to the house and kept him quiet, but with difficulty ; 
as the Karens filled the verandas, eager to get a few last words before 
he left them. We told them his state, and begged them to spare him. 
He arose the nest morning refreshed, took a slight breakfast, and 
started for his boat, which was a mile or more down the river. He 
did not leave, however, till he had spoken a few words to the Karens, 
prayed with them, and shaken hands with every one of them, not 
overlooking the smallest child before him. The road between the 
house and the street was too muddy for a carriage to cross. When 
the Karens saw him preparing to walk to his carriage, they rushed 
for a chair, seated him in it, wrapped his old-fashioned cloak about 
him, and carried him, as if he had been a prince, he waving his adieus 
till out of sight. 

" Almost his last words to us were, that he was ^happier man for 
what he had seen, for the prospect of the gloriouswork among the 
Karens being made permanent and aggressive by the educational sys- 
tem so happily inaugurated in Maulmain. He repeatedly spoke of 
the pleasure it gave him to see the cheerfulness which prevailed 
among: us. He did not like ' missionaries to seem as if thev had been 
whipped into the traces.' When on his way to the boat he stopped 
to bid a mission family good-by, and was asked if he thought his trip 
and visit had done him good. ' Good ? Why 1 I would have come 
all the way from Sandoway, in my little boat, in the rains, just to 
hear laugh. It has done me good every way.' 

" The next time we met was in 1853, at Xewton Centre, Mass. He 
had 'come home to rest, probably to die.' He felt that his direct, 
personal work among the Karens was done ; but he urged our speedy 
return. . . . We never saw his face, now so pale and worn, again ; 
but the mention of his name is still like precious ointment poured 
forth, and his example has ever been to us an inspiration." 1 



1 For a very interesting sketch from the same pen of Kyautoo and wife, 
Bassein pupils in Dr. Binney's school at Maulmain, see Missionary Maga- 
zine, 1848, pp. 107 sqq. The widow afterwards married Rev. Oo Sah of 
Meethwaydike, where she exerted a strong influence for good until her 
death a few years ago. 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. 119 

It was believed at this time that the Burmese government, 
seeing the folly of repressive measures which only drove from 
its borders a most valuable class of subjects, was now ready 
to retrace its steps, and at least allow religious liberty to the 
Karens. In fact, Mr. Abbott himself had received more than 
one urgent invitation from Burman officials to go and reside 
near Bassein. One of these invitations he fully purposed to 
accept, early in 1849. Mr. Ingalls of Akyab was intending to 
join him in the expedition ("Missionary Magazine," January, 
1849, p. 22), but was prevented. The Karens also who had 
left theh ancient homes in Bassein to settle in British Arakan 
were getting restless. Beecher writes, Jan. 17 : — 

" They are turning their thoughts, and not a few of them their 
steps, towards the rising sun, and will not remain much longer in this 
sickly and unproductive land, either for love or liberty." 

Mr. Abbott leit Sandoway to make his first attempt to enter 
Bassein, Nov. 21, 1848. Before returning, he attended the 
association at Ong Khyoung, early in January. His account 
of the journey is as follows : — 

" Sandoway, Feb. 17, lSIf.9. — I have recently returned from a long 
tour. When I left, I hoped to be able to enter Burma. I had previ- 
ously been invited to come by the governor of Myoungmya, who had 
promised to allow me to build a house and reside in his city. His 
district lies to the south and east of Bassein, towards Rangoon ; and 
he is entirely independent of Bassein. The Karen Christians in his 
district, headed by Shway Weing, had made such representations as 
to persuade him to give me this permission. After twelve days at 
sea in a native boat, I entered the Bassein lliver, and was stopped 
at a watch-station near the mouth, 1 under the jurisdiction of the 

1 On Heingyee Island. If Mr. Abbott bad bad the help of a good map, 
we believe that be could bave avoided the jurisdiction of tbe Bassein gov- 
ernor altogetber, by entering Myoungmya directly from tbc sea, through 
tbe mouth of a smaller river, a few miles to tbe eastward of tbe Bassein. 
Shway Myat, who attended Mr. Abbott on tbis expedition, told me that 
Shway "Weing and otber Cbristians met him at the island ; that when 
summoned to go to tbe irresponsible officer of tbe Burman guard, tbe mis- 



120 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

governor of Bassein, and was forbidden to enter the country until 
Jus permission could be obtained. I had hoped to be able in some 
way to pass by that station and enter Myoungmya, knowing that the 
governor of Bassein would oppose me ; but I did not succeed. I was 
detained five days, while the officers sent a despatch to Bassein. As I 
feared, the answer came that I could not enter the country, but, if 
I would remain at the station three months, the governor would send 
to Ava, and learn the will of the king on the subject. The case has 
been sent up to the king, I believe, not only by the governor of Bas- 
sein, but by the governor of Myoungmya also, who is quite sure that 
he will secure the royal permission. I do not expect to hear the result 
for several weeks yet. If the Lord has need of me, he will set before 
me an open door. 

" That the king has ordered all the governors to cease persecuting 
the Karen Christians, I have no doubt. Since 1844, the year after 
the great persecution and the year of the great emigration, the Chris- 
tians have had rest, and are encouraged by Burman officers to build 
chapels, and worship God in their own way. The Christian commu- 
nities are becoming so numerous that they exert a powerful influence 
upon the Burmans. Burmans are being converted and baptized by 
the pastors, uniting with Karen churches, and many are coming under 
Christian influence. The thought has arisen in my mind, whether 
the Lord will not convert Burma to Christianity by means of the 
Karens. Oh, how I have longed to enter that country! But Heaven 
has denied me the privilege. How different the scenes I should wit- 
ness now from what I witnessed on my first tour in that region, in 
1837! . . . 

" I have since visited the eight Arakan churches scattered along 
the coast from Pagoda Point to Sandoway. I found many things to 
condemn, but more to approve. The pastors are willing to listen 
to my advice and submit to the control of truth. There are but few 
cases of discipline, less, perhaps, than among the same number of 
churches in America. Additions are being made by baptism. Hay- 
schools are established in nearly every village ; and the people are 
increasing in knowledge, and walking in the fear of the Lord. 

"On the 10th of January we held our association at Ong Khyoung. 



sionary took his double-barrelled gun on his shoulder, the consequence 
being that he was treated very respectfully. Tohlo and Thahree also 
accompanied him on the journey. 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. 121 

Thirty-five preachers were present from all parts west of Rangoon. 
There has ever been to me more of intense interest connected with 
my intercourse with those men than with any other relations of my 
missionary life. I baptized them all. They have sat under my teach- 
ings month after month, while I have watched them growing up from 
infancy of knowledge to manhood in Christ. I have followed them 
as they have gone forth into their wild jungles preaching the gospel ; 
have seen churches built up under their instructions, and thousands 
becoming obedient to the faith. Upon two of their number I have 
ventured to lay my hands, and to recognize them as bishops of the 
church of Christ. I have bowed with them on the seashore, and 
commended them to the grace of God, ready to depart for a distant 
land, wasted by disease ; while each of us trembled under the unuttered 
foreboding that in this world we should meet no more. I have seen 
them again, standing firm like good soldiers of Jesus Christ, converts 
multiplying around them as the drops of the morning, as pastors of 
churches, magnifying their office and glorifying God. The affection 
we entertained towards each other years ago has not abated. It will, 
I trust, be perfected above and perpetuated through all eternity. 
Blessed be the name of God forever ! 

"I shall not be able to give the details of our last meeting. It 
would be impossible. Our statistics at the close of 181S stand as fol- 
lows : churches, 36 ; members, 4,311 reported, in Bassein and Arakan ; 
baptized during the year, 373 ; native preachers, 44 ; scholars in day- 
schools, 421 ; died, 72; excluded, 24. Twelve chapels are completed, 
and do honor to the enterprise and spirit of the people. They are 
beautifully finished, and accommodate several hundred worshippers 
each. There are reported, also, 5,124 unbaptized Christians, who 
maintain as religious a life as the members of the church, only not 
baptized. Adding these and the nominal Christians to the church- 
members, and we have a population of not less than 12,000, who 
would bear comparison, as to moral character, with any Christian 
population in the world, and all enjoying the means of grace. The 
Executive Committee and the friends of missions will rejoice to hear 
that but six hundred rupees 1 were expended on these pastors, native 
preachers, and schools, during the year 1848. 



1 Of course Us. GOO from America is meant. The Karens themselves 
must have given several times that amount in cash and its equivalent. 
Abbott and Ccecher had an appropriation that year of Us. 1,500 for these 



122 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

" At our recent meeting the native preachei's unanimously and 
cheerfully gave up the relations they have hitherto sustained to the 
mission, and are in future to rely entirely on their churches for sup- 
port. Native pastors to be sustained by native churches is the great 
principle by which they are to be governed. Churches are multiply- 
ing ; and many are too poor to sustain their teachers, in which case we 
shall give aid. Schools also must be multiplied, so that the coming 
year will demand as much from us as the past; but the system of 
supporting the native ministry will be permanent. In this case the 
native brethren exhibited a spirit of self-denial, of true devotion to 
the cause of Christ, which I have not hitherto witnessed. Those men 
have made a noble sacrifice for the kingdom of heaven's sake, and 
verily they will have their reward. I believe their action is unparal- 
leled in the history of modern missions." 

Thirty-four years have elapsed since this stand was made. 
No backward step has been taken, and already Abbott's prophe- 
cy has been fulfilled. The Karen leaders have had the only 
reward they desired, — the steady advancement of their people, 
and the rapid upbuilding of Christian institutions among them 
on a firm, indigenous basis. Beecher, who was present when 
the resolution was adopted, sa} 7 s, however, that the preachers 
were not quite unanimous. 1 As a body they were noble men, 

very objects, of which they thought it wise to spend hut Rs. GOO. If they 
had paid their unexcelled assistants Rs. 80 each, the Mauhnain Karen rate, 
they would have required Rs. 3,520 for preachers alone; or, if they had paid 
them at the Maulmain Burman rate, nearly Rs. 8,000 would have been con- 
sumed before beginning on schools. They were singular in their views, 
their assistants received a singular training at their hands, and God honored 
them with singular success. 

1 This is the account he gives in an unpublished letter, dated April 12, 
1851: "One Myah Au (or Myat Oung) happening to stick out his horns a 
little sooner and a good deal farther than the other assistants, in the strife 
after regular pay, Mr. Abbott seized hold of him, and thrashed the whole 
company over his back so effectually that the poor fellow suddenly dis- 
appeared, and was not seen again by us for two years. A few weeks after- 
wards, however, we learned that he was not entirely annihilated; for Mr. 
Abbott received a letter from his church, stating that they had received 
him again in good faith, finding no fault with him. He ventured to appear 
cautiously at our last association, bringing a request from his church that 
he might be received into favor again, and the request was granted." Here 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. 123 

and cheerfully acceded to what their beloved leader asked of 
thern ; but it was mainly Abbott's owu principles and spirit 
infused into them, and his rare power exercised over them, that 
did the work. A weaker man might have failed. There have 
been fields equally promising in which the appointed leaders 
have followed on in the old ruts, attempting nothing like this, 
or, attempting, have failed through weakness. There have 
been yet other fields in which the work was started right ; but, 
falling into the control of men whose wisdom and power were 
inadequate, they have lapsed into the state of mercenary de- 
pendence which is here deprecated. 1 

But this is a digression. Mr. Abbott is now about to make 
a second attempt to enter Bassein in April, the hottest month 
of the year, by a more direct but harder route, up the Baumee 
River, through the pass to a place previously appointed within 
the bounds of pastor Bo's parish of Lehkoo. Previous to 
starting on the former fatiguing and dangerous expedition, the 
missionary had received a formal request from the Executive 
Committee that he would " abstain from all unnecessary expo- 
sure of his health." His reply of Nov. 2, 1848, is so charac- 
teristic that we quote from it. 

" As it regards ' unnecessary exposure of health,' I plead ' not guilty.' 
That my course of life has been attended with hazard and exposure 
of health in many instances, I admit. And that, in some cases, I have 
acted against the advice of physicians and friends is true. But I am 
yet to be convinced that I have not acted wisely. Not that I would 
justify 'unnecessary ' exposure of life and health for a moment. The 

again, Mr. Abbott did not mistake his man. The same Myah Au was 
finally set aside from the ministry in 1871, for forging an order for money 
in the missionary's hands belonging to his daughter, who had earned it 
by years of service in an English family, and had no thought of giving 
it into her father's control. 

1 For the views of the elder Vinton on this subject, see Missionary 
Magazine, October, IMG, p. 304. " We want no second-rate men. . . . men 
that love to work, and that will work." For Professor Christlieb's strong 
expressions on the same subject, see his Protestant Foreign Missions, pp. 
58, 138, and 238, English edition. 



12-4 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

question to be decided is, when is any exposure of life and health 
justifiable? That missionary life involves exposures and perils from 
first to last, I need not inform the Executive Committee ; nor that 
the course of some missionaries necessarily involves more exposure 
than that of others. This cannot be avoided, unless a man would be 
everlastingly interpreting providences, and do nothing else. But when 
are exposures which might be avoided, justifiable V Now, let a man 
take care how he interprets providence : for selfishness, timidity, and 
the love of ease are strong arguments ; we are all liable to err on that 
side, and generally need no caution there. 

"A case in point. At the close of 1844 I had an appointment to 
meet the Karen preachers near Ong Khyoung, in a small chapel, 
rudely built for the occasion on the sea-beach. My health had failed. 
Against the advice of the physician, with an alarming cough and an 
entire loss of voice, I started on that long journey to meet those 
beloved men, perhaps for the last time. My wife accompanied me 
with a sad heart, to see me decently buried in the jungle. I had some 
thoughts too. But I met those men, and preached to them day and 
night for twelve days ; said the last word, and bid them adieu. Fre- 
quently during the time, especially late in the evenings, my dear wife 
would kindly come and whisper in my ear, ' My love, do you wish to 
live another day ? ' But I did my duty, and we both considered that 
I was only able to go through with those scenes by a special interpo- 
sition of Divine Providence. I do not think it too much to say that 
the influence exerted at that meeting was made, by the grace of God, 
the efficient instrumentality of promoting the usefulness and stead- 
fastness of those men during my absence. There was an exposure 
that might have been avoided very easily, but who shall say it was 
unnecessary exposure ? I dare not." 

He goes on to speak of the heavy labors before him, and of 
his determination to proceed, notwithstanding the precarious 
state of his health, and closes thus : — 

" The committee may rest assured that I shall not expose my 
health unnecessarily. Their vote, so far as it indicates the interest 
they feel in my welfare, has awakened in my heart the most grateful 
sentiments." 

From Sandoway he writes on the 15th of May of his sec- 
ond unsuccessful attempt to settle in Burman Bassein. 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. 125 

" From the tenor of my letter of last month 3*ou will expect to 
hear from me in Burma. I entered the country, as I proposed, by 
crossing over the hills from the head of Baumee River. But the gov- 
ernor of the district would not allow me to remain, and I was obliged 
to make my way back to Sandoway. He knew that the Karens were 
building me a house, and gave his consent to my residing in it. 
But, before my arrival, he changed his views ; and his promise, which, 
I doubt not, was made sincerely, was of no avail. He wished me to 
remain, but under-officers had combined and succeeded in awaking 
his fears by threatening to impeach him before the king if he allowed 
me to remain. His anxieties were not a little increased by the 
results of my former attempt to enter by the Bassein River. When 
I left the river on my return, a small brig was lying in sight, which 
appeared to me to be a Madras vessel making her way up the coast. 
Word went up to Bassein that a man-of-war was off the mouth of the 
river, ready to enter, and avenge the insult offered to the ' English 
spy.' It had been represented to the governor of Bassein that I 
came in that character, as an agent of the English. That was the 
work of Catholic priests to prejudice the government against me, and 
prevent my entering the country. Consequently, the Bassein gov- 
ernor, being the highest officer in the province, called out all the other 
governors with their war-boats ; and the fleet moved down the river to 
drive the foe into the sea, — when, on their arrival, there was not a 
ship to be seen. Then the other governors turned upon the Bassein 
gentleman, and handed him up to the king as an alarmist, a disturber 
of the public peace without cause. The result was, that the gov- 
ernor was taken to Ava in irons. What lias become of him we have 
not heard. This will indicate the commotion created by my first 
attempt to enter Bassein. The new governor has not yet arrived, and 
it is natural to siippose that the man into whose district I entered 
last was much in doubt as to what he should do with me. He dared 
not allow me to remain, and he was afraid to send me away. One 
good effect was produced by my last visit. The people now generally 
believe that I am what I profess to be, — simply a religious teacher. 
I have since heard that they say, 'That man would never come into 
our country as he does, and trust himself to our protection with none 
but Karens around him, were he not a true man.' 

" My walk over the hills was very fatiguing, the more so as I was 
not accustomed to travelling by land. We were fourteen hours from 
the last village on this side to the first on the otheri In that village 



126 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

was my house, or rather a large chapel, with bamboo work across one 
end for my sleeping-apartment. I arrived Saturday evening. That 
the Christians gave me a glad welcome is saying but little. Or that, 
in the course of that night, the thought that this was to be my home 
awakened a sense of desolation, perhaps I need not say. 

" When I arose sabbath morning I could not take a step without 
excessive pain, arising from the long walk of the previous day. But 
that was soon forgotten. The pastors with their people began to 
assemble to see the teacher. At nine o'clock the chapel was crowded, 
ten pastors present, and a large number of people on the ground who 
could not get in. As near as I could judge, there were seven hundred 
[in the building]. I undertook to preach, but was unable to go 
through : the pain in my throat was too great. At noon the people 
who could not get in in the morning assembled : the house was again 
crowded, and they, too, must hear the teacher preach. I went through 
with the services and a sermon, with less pain than in the morning ; 
and the people returned to their homes, except the villagers. I forgot 
the desolateness of my new home in the happy reflection that my 
position, although it might involve sacrifice and peril, was one I had 
lon n- desired to occupy, as it affords facilities for efficient labor, — a 
position I would not exchange for any other, except a dwelling-place 

in heaven. 

"Where should the father be, 

But in the bosom of his family ? " 

God be thanked for such sabbaths in a heathen land! 

" But my joyful anticipations were soon to be disappointed. At 
daylight the next morning Burman officers rushed into my sleeping- 
room, and ordered me, not very mildly, to start at once for the govern- 
or's court. I had seen Burman officials before, and had nothing to do 
but 'keep cool.' I finally succeeded in quieting their fury, and in 
getting them to leave my sleeping-room. After much ado they be- 
came more agreeable, and allowed me time to dress and take a cup of 
tea, as I did not know just whereunto the thing would grow, or when 
it would end. I got into a little canoe, and rowed down the creek to 
the bamboo palace of his Excellency, 1 where I arrived at nine o'clock. 



i This officer was the pehnin of Kyouk Khyoung-gyee. In Burman 
times this office is said to have heen similar to that of a superintendent of 
police. Its powers were somewhat greater than those of a native assistant 
commissioner under the English government. 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. 127 

It was the hour of the morning levee. The great man himself was 
seated on a mat at one end of a large hall, his silver boxes containing 
betel-nut, tobacco, lime, etc., spread around, and he reclining on a 
velvet cushion, 'as is the manner of Eastern princes.' The common 
people were at a great distance, bowing on their faces, while a few 
grave, elderly men were nearer, sitting in an upright position. T 
entered into conversation with the governor, told him distinctly who 
and what I was, and the object of my coining to the country. And 
he told me as distinctly that he dared not allow me to remain. I 
must return immediately, and wait a few months till the arrival of 
the new governor of Bassein, and till the matter could go before the 
king. He treated me very civilly, but was decided, and I was help- 
less. On taking my leave of him, I told him that I knew it was the 
custom of his country that those coming into the presence of a great 
man should take off their shoes, but trusted he would excuse me for 
not doing it : and as it was the custom of my country to take off the 
hat on such occasions, I would follow that ; and I raised my hat, and 
gave him the best bow at my command, with which he appeared per- 
fectly satisfied. I then made my way back to the village. I sent 
a request that he would allow me to pass through his district to 
Myoungmya, the district of the governor who invited me last year ; 
but he would not grant it. Still, I left men around the court to hear 
and bring me word of what was said, for I knew my case would be 
freely discussed. 

" These men returned at eight, p.sr., with the word, that, unless the 
foreign teacher was missing the next morning, the head man of the 
village and the pastor of the church would be dragged to prison. 
They were made responsible for my immediate departure. I had 
determined to stay if possible, and see the end ; but this was an 
aspect of things I did not like. What consternation prevailed 
throughout the village ! How utterly unable are those who live in a 
land of liberty and law to estimate the results of despotism on the 
spirit of a people ! Several of the women went into fits, so that we 
heard their screams in the chapel where we were sitting. Some wept, 
and some prayed. But the old men gathered around me and asked, 
' Teacher, what shall we do ? ' Sure enough, here was a case to be 
decided, and not much time for a decision. But by nine o'clock we 
had asked counsel of God, and the matter was settled. Before eleven 
all my household furniture was tied again to poles to prevent slipping 
off ; for the pieces were to be carried by two men each, through the 



128 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

jangles, over the precipices, rocks, logs, and ravines to Aratan. From 
eleven to twelve the people assembled for worship, and I endeavored 
to strengthen their confidence in the wisdom of Providence. 

" At midnight we started on our dreary w r ay back over the hills we 
had crossed two days before. The full moon was sailing through the 
clear heavens ; and ill its soft, melancholy light we travelled on cheerily, 
a few native pastors at my side, with whom 1 ' talked by the way ' till 
near daylight, when the burden-carriers said if they could sleep one 
hour it would give them strength to climb the hills. As I knew the 
poor fellows needed rest, I ordered a halt ; and they all dropped down 
on the ground by their burdens, and in a moment were in a sound 
sleep. I spread out my mat on the leaves, pulled a blanket over me, 
spread a handkerchief over my face, and gave myself up to the strange, 
wild thoughts the circumstances were adapted to awaken. The 
natives had told me that we were in a notorious haunt of wild ele- 
phants, tigers, and robbers. The men around me were all in a dead 
sleep. Through the opening foliage the moon's stray beams were 
playing with my eyes. Not a whisper was heard but the deep breath- 
ing of the sleepers. The events of the past few days, fraught with 
the interests of the kingdom of Christ and with the eternal destinies 
of men, passed in review. The fatiguing journey before us, with its 
perils, awakened anxiety ; and the future was impenetrable. I, also, 
slept very quietly about forty minutes, and started up refreshed. The 
brilliant morning star met and gladdened my eye, beautiful emblem 
of the star of Hope, arising over these lands of pagan night. The 
men were soon upon their feet ; and we marched on and still on, reach- 
ing the first village towards evening. It took us three days to procure 
boats, and get down to the mouth of the river; and three more to 
prepare a boat for Sandoway, where I arrived after six days at sea, 
having been absent twenty days. 

" Since my return people have come from Burma, from whom I 
learn, that, early on the morning of my departure, officers came to the 
Karen village, and, seeing that I had gone, departed without molesting 
the disciples. Shortly after, a body of armed men came to the village, 
and simply wished to see the foreigner. They were supposed to be 
robbers ; and, had I been there, blood might have been shed, perhaps 
my own. A report is in circulation there, that the king has actually 
issued the order that I be allowed to reside in the country. It is 
merely a report : shoidd it prove true I should not be surprised. I 
cannot, however, make another journey to Burma till the close of the 
rains." 



SECOND CAMPAIGN BEGUN. — RECRUITS. 129 

On the 6th of December, 1875, the writer had the pleasure 
of visiting the site of the historic meeting above described. 
Under the guidance of pastor Shway So, who was a participant 
in the meeting, I walked carefully over the little elevation, still 
called by the Burmans, in commemoration of the Christian 
multitudes there gathered in 1849, " White-book Hill." My 
guide pointed out the exact site of the chapel erected for the 
occasion by Th'rah Bo, of Abbott's room, his cook-house, the 
Karen houses, etc. It is a slight rise of land only, within a 
stone's throw of the Moungbee, or, in Karen, the ' l Pineapple 
Creek," on the east bank, five or six miles north-west from 
Kyouk Khyoung-gyee, where Simons slept in 1835. There is 
not a soul living on the spot now. With my knife I carved 
Abbott's initials and the date of his visit on the trunk of a tree 
to mark the site. 

The Karens say that the teacher was escorted both ways by 
a band of fifty or sixty men, who went over to Baumee to meet 
him and bring his luggage. One who carried him across the 
streams pickapack says that he had a bad cough and was 
spitting blood : though tall, he was, at that time, very spare and 
light. The party reached the village in the edge of the even- 
ing, Saturday. Though evidently much wearied by severe 
marching, he was overjoyed at his reception. Over a thousand 
Christians from villages far and near had assembled to meet 
him, and it was this going to and fro of the Karens that alarmed 
the Burman officers more than any thing else. He held a short 
service with them that night. The next day, Sunday, was a 
high day. Abbott preached with great power. One present 
says that the people listened with intense delight ; that many 
were so moved that they could have suffered death for Christ's 
sake without shrinking. Mingled with his fervid teaching and 
exhortations were many expressions of joy that he had come 
at last to live and die among them. Although the separation 
was most painful on both sides, all the Karens who have con- 
versed with me on the subject agree that it was best for them 
that he return as he did. His faithful attendant, Thahree, says 



130 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

that it was three or four months before the heavy furniture and 
boxes that were sent around by sea to Bassein came back to 
their owner in Sandowa} 7 . 

The beginning of a distinct Pwo Karen department, in what 
is now known as the Bassein mission-field, is now to be made. 
Mr. Abbott, from the time of his first arrival in Sandoway, had 
done what he could for that people, and the Sgau preachers had 
co-operated with him zealously. A few hundreds had been 
converted and baptized. Pwo churches had been formed and 
pastors raised up for them, one of whom was already considered 
worthy of ordination. In consequence of the urgent represen- 
tations of both Abbott and Beecher, Rev. H. L. Van Meter, 
another graduate of Hamilton, was sent out with his excellent 
wife, reaching Sandoway March 20, 1849. What they were 
enabled to accomplish will appear as the history proceeds. 



CHAPTER VII. 

"In Minahassa the great error that the Christians were nevei suffi- 
ciently trained to self-support is causing serious difficulties." — Dr. Ccikist- 

LIEB. 

It is said that the daimios of Japan quietly yielded the larger 
part of their great power for the general good of the empire, 
and that thus, in a heathen nation, in our own time, one of the 
greatest revolutions in history was peaceably effected. In the 
Christian church, however, a reform is rarely, if ever, achieved 
without controversy, more or less bitter. Controvers}" is to be 
shunned as an evil ; but neither Christ nor his apostles ever 
resorted to esoteric teaching, nor did they long suppress impor- 
tant truth to escape conflict with error. Christian frankness, 
with a full recognition of the merits of an opponent and his 
arguments, will enable a man like Abbott to present a difficult 
question calmly and convincingly to brethren more or less com- 
mitted to opposite principles. This Mr. Abbott did with regard 
to the question of self-support in Burma. If, with equal wis- 
dom and courage, the great question could have been widely 
discussed and rightly settled at home, how great would have 
been the gain ! Instead of this, it was thought necessary to 
suppress the correspondence and the entire discussion as far as 
possible in America. The Christian public and the supporters 
of missions needed light, and still need it. May the great 
Father of lights prosper this honest effort to diffuse light 
among those who truly love it ; and may he help us all to see 
eye to eye, and keep us in the peace of God ! 

A chief object of Mr. Abbott's visit to Maulmain had been 

131 



132 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

to consult with his brethren there as to the system of support- 
ing native preachers. We quote from his unpublished letter of 
Oct. 12, 1848: — 

"The system of supporting native assistants — i.e., the plan by 
which each is to receive so much monthly pay — is coeval with the 
establishment of the Burmese mission, and is also the system of 
every other mission of which I have knowledge. This system, in my 
estimation, is fraught with the elements of destruction. From the 
Burmese it was carried into the Karen department, and it has been 
practised among the Karens of Maulmain to this day. It is beginning 
to cause our brethren there intense solicitude. Mr. Mason at Tavoy, 
being farther removed from the influence of the Burmese department 
at Maulmain, has been able to discard it, and act independently. 
Here in Arakan, from the first, I have been determined to break it 
up, and introduce the system of self-sustaining churches. ... It is 
the system to which I object, and the spirit which that system is adapted 
to engender in the minds of all native preachers. Instead of having 
it as a fixed principle that all pastors are to be appointed and sustained 
by their own churches, that there is a mutual obligation and inter- 
dependence between pastor and people, and that every [preacher] is to 
have a church (except he receives a special appointment by the churches 
as an evangelist), this sj^stem relieves them of all sense of dependence 
upon their churches whatever, and they are simply the hired servants 
of the missionary. 

"Now, in the Karen department this system must be destroyed. I 
was happy to find that Mason, Binney, and other Karen missionaries 
at Maulmain, are of one mind with Beecher and myself. Churches 
are to sustain their own pastors : pastors are to think, feel, and act 
accordingly. Evangelists are to be appointed and sustained by the 
churches. We will have a ' Union ' here to act as the agent of the 
churches if necessary. And, if churches are poor (quite probable), 
and cannot support their pastors [wholly], we will write home to the 
Executive Committee, and they will make appropriations to help 
the poorer churches sustain their pastors and evangelists until they are 
able to do it [alone]. Such are the sentiments we are enforcing upon 
all our preachers, and such we believe to be the only system warranted 
by the word of God. 

" But we meet at once with a difficulty not easily overcome. It is 
the system of patronage, spoken of above, which has shed its baleful 



THE PATRONAGE SYSTEM CONFUTED. 133 

influence over the entire mission. A large number of our preachers 
here, and a few at Maulmain and Tavoy, have risen above that influ- 
ence, and we think will cheerfully rely on their churches for support, 
without feeling that they are undervalued by the mission because 
thev receive no pay. But others here and at Maulmain seem to feel 
that unless they share in the mission patronage it is because they 
deserve nothing. They are constantly referring to the Burmese 
preachers who receive liberal and regular pay. They feel that they 
are not appreciated ; that there is favoritism ; that, while they are 
toiling in the jungles, obliged to trust to a handful of poor brethren 
for support, the Burman assistants in the city, a great company of 
them, with no churches and no responsibilities but to keep on good 
terms with the missionary, are enjoying liberal allowances and certain 
pay. 

" We have been obliged to come out and declare that we do not 
approve of this system, . . . and that men are not to be valued 
according to the number of rupees they receive a month. For one, I 
am obliged from principle to continue to oppose the system of things 
at Maulmain, until a different system is adopted. . . . Are the Execu- 
tive Committee aware of the position of that church, with a missionary 
as pastor, some twelve or fourteen native preachers among its mem- 
bers on mission pay ? Are they aware of the amount of money that 
church consumes each year? And what is the result? It numbered 
more than a hundred when I entered the mission thirteen years ago : 
it numbers about the same now. If the committee will take the 
trouble to compare the amount of money lavished on that church 
with the pittance expended on the forty churches [connected with 
Sandoway], they will see that my disapproval of the system is not so 
far wrong after all." 

It is a tradition in Burma, that the great founder of the Bur- 
man mission was so deeply impressed with the falsity and the 
destructive nature of the Boodhist doctrine of merit, that, while 
he gave to good objects most liberally himself, he would rarely 
call upon the converts under his care for contributions for any 
object. He sought thus, it is said, to bring out in strongest 
contrast the Boodhist system with the Christian plan of salva- 
tion by free grace. Burman as well as Karen missionaries 
have since come to feel that this peculiarity in the early man- 



134 BASSEJN KAREN MISSION. 

ageinent of the mission resulted in a serious defect in the Bur- 
man work. 1 It is probably true, however, that the defect is due 
in a greater degree to the avarice which is natural to that inter- 
esting race, as well as to some others. Special pains and great 
patience are doubtless necessary to bring them up to the full 
measure of their duty in giving. 

Another fallacy no less mischievous in tendency may here 
be noted. As ten or fifteen native preachers can be supported 
at the cost of one foreign missionary, it has seemed wise to 
many friends of missions to put as many of the native Chris- 
tians as possible into the direct work of evangelization. By 
mapping out a town or district systematically, a few native 
brethren, when carefully superintended, will visit within a defi- 
nite time every dwelling, and give to its inmates the oral offer 
of salvation, with tracts or Scripture portions. It has thus hap- 
pened that many missions have employed a larger number of 
native preachers and other agents than the Christians of the 
country or district could possibly support ; a larger number, too, 
than have given credible evidence of a divine call to distinc- 
tively religious work. In one of the Burman missions, e.g., 
nearly every male disciple, and several of the Christian wives 



1 There is no doubt that Dr. Jndson was well aware of the evils of so 
great a concentration of missionaries at Maulmain. "Writing from that 
station to a private friend in the United States, Oct. 21, 1847, he says, 
" Brother Beecher is going round to Akyab to meet Brother Abbott, for the 
avowed purpose of opening his eyes to the beauties of Maulmain and the 
efficacy of ' concentration.' But this will be a failure, for Brother Abbott 
is almost the only missionary out who is not infected with the Maulmania. 
With him, indeed, it is Maulmainphobia, and I should not wonder if he 
succeeded in detaining the Beechers in Arakan. I sincerely hope he will, 
for they are really needed there much more than they are in this place." 
In justice to " the Beechers " we ought to add, that the writer of this letter 
was mistaken, probably, in supposing that they had any serious thought of 
leaving their appointed field for a station more attractive as a residence, 
but over supplied with missionaries. We have read Mr. Beecher's corre- 
spondence of that time carefully, and there is not a trace of wavering in 
purpose or desire. As soon as the arrival of his senior associate in Arakan 
was announced, he left Maulmain with his wife and household effects to 
join him. 






THE PATRONAGE SYSTEM CONFUTED. 135 

and daughters, were for years under the pay of the mission as 
preachers, colportors, Bible-women or school-teachers. To the 
poorer class of native Christians it is a decided rise in the 
social scale to escape from manual labor, to dress in a clean 
white jacket every day, and to be classed with writers and pro- 
fessional men. The rate of pay is not generall} 7 too high : the 
mistake is (with few exceptions) in employing them at all. 
By thus doing, the value of their testimony to the heathen 
around them is largely impaired ; by taking so large a propor- 
tion of the membership from the supporting class in the church, 
and adding it to the class for whom support must be provided. 
it becomes impossible for the native church to maintain the 
establishment. Foreign money must do it ; and the mission 
must be weighted, for an indefinite period, with all the baleful 
ills of the patronage system. 

However plausible this plan may seem, especially in the 
beginning of a mission, when the converts are few and the 
missionary is eager to make as speedy and wide an impression 
as possible on the heathen masses, we look in vain to the New 
Testament for a precept or a precedent for this mode of evan- 
gelization. Great Britain and Germany were not thus con- 
verted to Christianity. Not thus were Christian churches and 
institutions planted and extended in North America. Indi- 
vidual missionaries there have been in every age sent forth by 
the home churches, and supported, to a greater or less extent, 
in heathen lands ; but in permanently successful missions, they 
Jiave never subsidized their converts. Not thus does the kins;- 
dom of God extend and establish itself in the earth. In suc- 
cessful missions the converts themselves quickly take up the 
burdens and responsibilities which the New Testament imposes 
upon them. There is a contagious life-principle in the gospel 
leaven, which causes it to work out in all directions, feeding 
upon and assimilating the inert masses with which it is brought 
in contact. If there is not life enough in an infant church to 
take root and grow in the fresh soil where it is planted, from 
resources right at hand ; if there is not life and energy enough 



136 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

in it to become a tree, yielding shade and fruit for others, — the 
husbandman's labor is in vain : decay and death are inevitable. 
Unless the churches we plant in heathen lands speedily become 
a new base of supplies, and a new base of aggressive warfare, 
all the money in Christendom will not galvanize them into more 
than artificial life. 

The urgent ciy for pecuniary help which came from the 
Maulmain Karen mission in April, 1848 ("Missionary Maga- 
zine," 1848, pp. 451, 452), and the appeals for aid in the form 
of " Specific Donations " which are even now constantly made 
over the heads of the Executive Committee by Karen missiona- 
ries as well as others, are the direct result of this unscriptural 
system. To read the report of a mission composed of men like 

, and ; to hear them talk seriously of resigning and 

abandoning their work to other denominations because they 
had received for their work, over and above their personal 
allowances and the generous help of English residents, only 
Rs. 4,44G (seven times as much as Abbott and Beecher had 
used in their more extensive and more difficult work) , is a suffi- 
cient commentary on the enervating effects of the system they 
were under. 

" The operations of the Karen mission have been so trammelled that the 
work has ceased to progress. It is no longer a matter of opinion. Many 
retrograde steps are already taken. Your mission as a whole is fast sink- 
ing ; and the course now being pursued must inevitably ruin it, unless 
God in his sovereign pleasure does for it what we have no right to antici- 
pate. We cannot consent to remain here to see it die." 

No wonder Abbott felt impelled to visit them ; no wonder 
his coming seemed, as one of them wrote, "almost as an 
angel strengthening us" (p. 117). A marked change is ob- 
servable in a letter published soon after the lugubrious report 
and the visit. While there seems to have been no inter- 
mission in the payment of regular salaries to the pastors 
by the mission, Dr. Binney writes from Maulmain, Feb. 26, 
1849 : — 



THE PATRONAGE SYSTEM CONFUTED. 137 

" These churches are, some of them, now able to support them- 
selves, and ought to do so. Mr, Abbott has, I learn, commenced this 
work in Arakan. It ought to be done here ; but, with my other work, 
I cannot commence what I know may demand much of my attention, 
at perhaps unexpected times. I have, therefore, endeavored to meet 
the case indirectly, leaving the work itself until more time and more 
favorable circumstances shall insure success. I have conversed freely 
with some of the assistants. They all think that something should 
be done. In conversation with the assistant in my school upon the 
subject [Rev. Pahpoo?], he thought the churches this year had better 
do what they could to aid our schools, and proposed himself to make 
an attempt. When I saw how he did it, I was most glad that it had 
been intrusted to him. JSTewville will give the schools this year over 
two hundred baskets of paddy, Kayin a hundred and ten baskets, 
Chetthingsville, a hundred baskets, and Ko Chetthing also a hundred 
baskets. This is in addition to their contributions for other objects, 
and is sufficient to show, that, with little or no aid, these churches can 
support their own pastors. They have given cheerfully." 

Rev. J. H. Vinton at this time was in America. Fully 
convinced that the Karen work in his district was languish- 
ing for lack of money from abroad, instead of from an ex- 
cess of foreign aid, lie pleaded with the American churches 
for special help for the support of Karen preachers, and 
had obtained a special fund of five thousand dollars to be 
used for that object, over and above the ordinary appropria- 
tions of the society. A circular was addressed to each of the 
Karen missionaries by Secretary Peck, to know how much they 
needed, and how the}* would advise the money to be spent. 
We are able to give the replies of Abbott and Beecher only to 
this circular. It would be interesting to read the replies of 
others who then professed to have come to share in the new 
views, but they are not in our possession. The circular reached 
Sandoway Feb. 19, 1849 ; and Mr. Beecher replied under the 
same date. 

" We hardly know what opinion to express respecting the manner 
of disposing of such a donation. Lest our opinion as a mission 
should conflict with that of a loved and worthy brother, or with that 



138 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

of any other station, we will express our views as individuals, to you 
as an individual, to be used as you may think best. I praise God for 
the increasing interest in the Karen mission, . . . but my joy would 
have been far greater if that five thousand dollars had been given for 
the establishment of a mission among the starving Kemees, who have 
so long been saying to us, ' Is there no man who cares for our souls ? ' 
If the entire sum must be appropriated to the one 'special purpose 
of aiding the preaching department of the Karen mission,' then my 
joy does not exceed my anxiety, — I may say, my sorrow." 

After speaking of the dangerous and mischievous tendency 
of specific donations in general, he goes on to say, in the second 
place, — 

" That amount above the ordinary appropriations is not now, and 
will not for many years be, needed for that particular object. To 
expend it all upon that object within three or four years would, I 
firmly believe, be attended with greater evils than would be expe- 
rienced by calling home two-thirds of the Karen missionaries, leaving 
the native preachers to depend entirely upon their churches for sup- 
port. As to Sandoway, we do not need any more this year than the 
estimate sent you some months since; and, whenever we may need 
more, ... I prefer to trust to the willingness and efficiency of the 
Executive Committee to meet our wants, rather than to such special 
donations. If any of the money could be legitimately applied to 
schools, I would say, place Mrs. Binney's school, both as to buildings 
and teachers, above embarrassment. . . . 

" You may be surprised at some of these sentiments, . . . but, had 
you been with us in the Karen jungle this season, to see what we saw 
of the evil influence of the hireling system upon native preachers and 
churches, it would be sufficient to satisfy you of the correctness of 
our appi-ehensions respecting [specific] donations. Please excuse me 
from any responsibility as to the distribution of that five thousand 
dollars." 

Mr. Abbott's reply to the circular is dated Feb. 26 : — 

..." We deem a reply demanded, and wish the following laid 
before the committee. By reference to my report for 1848, you will 
learn, that although our preachers have increased from thirty-six to 
forty-four during the year, although our schools have multiplied, and 



THE PATRONAGE SYSTEM CONFUTED. 139 

our operations enlarged, our expenditures decreased : so that of fifteen 
hundred rupees appropriated by you, we expended but six hundred 
rupees ; and the statistics will show that the cause of truth has not 
suffered for want of money. Had we deemed it desirable, we should 
have expended all our appropriation. We hope and expect that this 
year our churches, preachers, and schools will be greatly multiplied ; 
but we do not expect that our expenditures will increase in proportion, 
for we believe that the system we have established will secure a sup- 
port for the preachers, or nearly so, as was the case last year. As we 
do not expend all our appropriations, we require no extra donations. 

" There is a representation from the Maulmain Karen mission in 
the Magazine received by last mail, to the effect, that, if Rs. 2,941 are 
not expended on their preachers, . . . many of them must be dis- 
missed, and the most disastrous results will follow to the cause of 
Christ among that people. There must also have been a very strong 
representation of the case at home to secure that five thousand dollars 
to be expended in addition to the ordinary appropriations. 

" Now, there is such a vast difference between the representations 
from these two stations, Maulmain and Saudoway, . . . that the ques- 
tion must arise, whence this discrepancy of views ? . . . Does it arise 
from an inability on the part of the churches in Maulmain to support 
their pastors ? I answer, No. 1 Those churches are able and willing 
to reduce the expenditure in this department one-half at least, so 
that the five thousand dollars might be appropriated to another pur- 
pose. Does it originate in the fact that jungle preachers in Maulmain 
cannot live as cheaply as in Bassein and Arakan, and, as a consequence, 
require more pay ? I answer most unhesitatingly, No. . . . How, then, 
can these most discordant representations be accounted for ? Where 
shall we find the cause? In the system established for the support of a 
native ministry in the Burman department of the Maulmain mission. . . . 
It has become to the native preachers the law of Christ's kingdom, 
the great principle that is to control their interests to all future time. 
It is vain to tell the Burman or Karen what our theory is on the sub- 
ject ; that it is but a temporary expedient to meet a present emergency, 
etc., so long as he has in the system itself a practical demonstration 
to the contrary, appealing not only to his selfishness, but to his sense 
of honor and justice. . . . 



1 It is to be remembered that Mr. Abbott had lived and travelled exten- 
sively in the Maulmain district, and knew whereof he affirmed. 



140 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

" A case that fell under my observation about twelve years ago in 
Maulmain is in point. One of the oldest Karen preachers, and one 
of the best, while receiving seven rupees per month, demanded of the 
missionary ten rupees, referring to the fact that the Burman preachers 
in the city were receiving fourteen and fifteen. He did not pretend 
that he could not live on his pay : that was not the question with 
him. If the Burman had fifteen, he ought to have ten. The mis- 
sionary would not raise his pay ; and the man left the mission service, 
and went to cutting down jungle to raise his own rice, when he could 
not realize from all his labor three rupees a month. Evidently it was 
not the love of money that drove him from the mission service, nor 
an insufficient support. It was a sense of injustice. He felt that there 
was gross partiality in the distribution of money, and that he was 
defrauded because he was a Karen. Like a true-spirited man, if he 
could not have what was right, he would have nothing. ... To show 
the Executive Committee that Mr. Binney agrees with me respecting 
the principle that should control us in this matter, I give an extract 
from a letter of his lately received. He says, — 

" ' Since you left, I have thought much of the course pursued by 
you with your assistants. It is the right course. Of this you have 
the best testimony, — their stability and progress during your absence. 
Do not alter it. When Vinton returns, I will do my best to pursue the 
same course here ; and you know him well enough to know that he 
will be glad to find the thing possible. These men that work for 
pay are not the men upon whom the churches can rely. Explain to 
them the true state of the case. Show them how you consult, not 
their pleasure, or merely temporal good, but the good of their souls 
and of the cause, and then tell them what you have yourself done for 
them. Do not be afraid to say /, when your object is to do good. 
Paul has set us a good example on this point. You can tell them 
that the Maulmain teachers fully approve your course in this matter, 
and think it is one reason why God has so much blessed your people. 
We will try to follow on and support the cause by our example, as 
soon as we can get a little out of the fog.' " 

Mr. Abbott continues : — 

..." Will our system be permanent ? But for the influence coming 
in upon us from Maulmain, it would. ... I am persuaded that the 
present state of things cannot continue. If the Maulmain brethren 
do not succeed in reducing the pay of their preachers, in many cases 



THE PATRONAGE SYSTEM CONFUTED. 141 

to nothing, and in all one-half, we shall have sad business here. Our 
preachers are not to be treated as slaves, and I shall not allow the 
beloved men under my charge to be degraded. An illustration : — on 
one side the river west of Rangoon is a preacher connected with 
Sandoway. He is pastor of a small church which cheerfully supports 
him. He receives not a pice from the mission. He is willing to 
labor, and suffer if need be, for the kingdom of heaven's sake, and 
would be satisfied with the support he receives, but for the fact that 
on the other side of the river, east of Rangoon, is a brother, pastor of 
a church better able and just as willing to support him, who receives 
eighty-four rupees a year from the mission. That is not an imaginary 
case, but a fact. 

"To my mind there are but two alternatives, — they must expend 
less or we more. And as the extra five thousand dollars does not look 
like a falling-off in that quarter, the Executive Committee will not 
be surprised to receive an ' appeal ' from Sandoway, demanding four 
thousand rupees a year to expend on our native preachers, to save the 
cause of Christ from ruin ! We all know, and the committee should 
know, that it is absolutely essential that in the Karen department we 
act together. One principle only must reign throughout our entire 
mission. It is deemed advisable that I go to Maulmain for a few 
months, and I shall hope to visit Rangoon. I was acquainted with 
some of the preachers connected with Maulmain years ago. I have 
not forgotten them, and I trust they have not lost their regard for me. 
"What can be effected, we know not : only this we know, — nothing 
good will be accomplished but by divine truth, under the blessing of 
Almighty God. 

" Thinking you may like to know Mr. Ingalls's views on this subject, 
I send an extract from a letter received the day before yesterday. He 
says, ' The Burmans [in Akyab] have commenced a subscrij^tion 
for erecting a chapel, and some of them have put down fifty rupees. 
I shall soon commence one, without expense to the [Union] ; and, with 
God's blessing, I will get the native preachers off their hands also. 
I most fully concur in all that you have written on this subject [the 
support of a native ministry], and will do all I can. But you must 
remember that I am still alone, and shall be, virtually, for some time 
to come. . . . Such little men as you and I are, cannot, unless God 
shall sanction our views, contend with those whose years and standing 
are so different.' " 



142 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

A copy of this letter was sent to Mr. Vinton by the same 
mail which took the original to Boston. Mason took some 
exceptions to Abbott's positions, which called forth a spicy, 
bnt friendly, rejoinder on the 1st of November, from which we 
make a few extracts : — 

" AVhy not reform? What is the great difficulty in the way ? One 
truth is clear, both from my reply and from your letter to me, that 
the difficulty does not lie in the Karen department itself. You find it 
in the weakness of 's faith. I find it in the influence of the Bur- 
mese department. . . . You uphold the same system in Tavoy that 
they do in Maulmain. All your assistants rely on the mission treasury 
for support ; and it is, of course, adequate and certain. Why should 
they complain? But your 'assistants in the jungle on four rupees a 
month never cry "injustice" when those in town receive ten.' Quite 
probable. If those assistants have imbibed the principles of their 
teacher, that the great truth, ' all men are created equal,' is ' an Ameri- 
canism ' and ' nonsense,' and if they feel the ' inferiority ' which is at- 
tributed to them, they would make no complaint, of course, so long as 
they can get enough to eat. I might have had just such quiet times 
among the assistants and pastors west of Rangoon. ... If I had 
given them all regularly seven rupees, that is, if I had scattered thirty- 
four hundred rupees a year among them, I never should have heard it 
re-iterated in my ears, ' Why do you not give us as much as they do in 
Maulmain ? ' ' Can you not get as much money as they do in Maul- 
main?' 'We cannot live on less than they do in Maulmain,' etc. 
They would all have been as quiet as lambs, and I might have mis- 
taken them for lambs. 

" But supposing we all pursue this regular pay system : let us see 
whither it would bring us. To make a rough, but moderate, calcula- 
tion, we have at — 

Sandoway, say, 45 assistants, at Rs. 3,700 a year. 

Maulmain, Karen department, 40 assistants, at . " 3,400 " 

" Barman " 20 assistants, at . . " 3,300 " 

Tavoy and Mergui, say, 40 assistants, at .... " 2,400 " 

We have, then, a total of a hundred and forty-five men in the employ 
of the mission, at an expense of twelve thousand eight hundred 
rupees a year, a troop of mercenaries, all natives, bear in mind, over 
whom the rupee exerts a most bewitching, polluting, hirelingizing 







o 
Z 



o 
o 
z 
< 
a. 

o 

£ 

o 
z 
< 



X 

S 

fc. 
c 

u 



< 
(fa 



THE PATRONAGE SYSTEM CONFUTED. 143 

influence. Where shall we stop ? "We had better find out how far the 
Executive Committee will supply the rupees ; for there we must stop, as 
the great power which has sustained the whole will have failed. . . . 

" Had you heard the discussions that 1 have had with our preachers 
on the subject of 'pay,' during these two years past, you would have 
gained a few ideas as to the working of the regular pay system of 
which you never dreamed. 1 suppose Karens here are about the same 
as Karens at Tavoy and Maulmain. My remarks do not apply to the 
majority of those here, I am happy to say, but to those who have been 
in the habit of receiving regular pay from the mission ; so that I have 
the means of knowing what kind of a spirit that system is adapted to 
becret. I have endeavored to substitute the churches for the mission 
treasury ; and it has cost me more anguish of spirit, and more hours 
of controversy and pleading, than all the other troubles arising from 
our forty pastors and five thousand converts, put together. ... I 
suspect that I have not much sympathy in this business ; but, when 
my brethren shall attempt to bind their assistants to the cause of 
Christ, to poverty and self-denial, by the (ruth, by cords of love and 
not of gold, they will then learn that I am deserving of it. . . . 

"One thing is clear to my mind. . . . Karen churches will feel no 
obligation to support their pastors, and will not do it cordially, so 
long as those pastors have access to the mission treasury. They will 
not labor and give their money to men who are supported by ' state 
patronage.' All that you and I can say or do will not alter the case, 
so long as they know we are giving their pastors money. True, some 
churches might give their pastors more than others, but that fact 
would not produce the evil you imagine. I need not stop to set you 
right, — I know it would not. 

" You state, as one objection to my order of things, that there 
would be no provision for itinerants, — for men who have no churches. 
I will not attempt to annihilate that objection now, as it would com- 
pel me to take too wide a sweep, and to say things which I do not 
wish to be heard west of the Atlantic Ocean. Pyah deene fk'lu meh 
pgah t'goh tali naut'mee bah [that sort of men are of no use at all]. 

" I am awaiting Brother Vinton's return with much anxiety. We 
shall hear from him what difficulties he has to meet in inducing his 
pastors to rely on the churches for support, and in inducing the 
churches to support their pastors. He will find the first much more 
difficult than the last, I can tell him. . . . You say, if- there is 'odium' 
attaching to the Maulmain system, it is 'common to every mission in 



144 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

India.' Certainly, and it is undoubtedly producing the same evils in 
every mission in India. . . . What you say respecting Maulmain not 
being a proper place for the theological school under Mr. Binney is all 
too true. We have already seen the evils here to which you refer. 
That we are to continue to send young men to study [there] a few 
years, and then have them come back to us, filled with the idea that 
they are going to walk up to the mission treasury and coolly demand 
eighty-four rupees per annum, is not to be thought of for a moment. 
But what is to be done? That subject is going to cause us trouble. 
We have met the difficulty and must overcome it. But how? 

" You give me credit for writing what I ' dispassionately believe.' 
Certainly: I give you credit for the same, and trust I shall be able to 
reciprocate the magnanimity and candor which you and Brother Ste- 
vens have exhibited. Should it be supposed that I have failed in 
this respect, I need not tell you it would cause me deep regret. The 
subject will agitate us more and more for a long time. It is one in 
which every member of our mission, Burnian or Karen, is equally 
interested. My only object in writing the Executive Committee has 
been, that the whole subject may be brought distinctly before them ; 
for, sooner or later, they will be called upon to act. 

" Yours affectionately, 

"E. L. Abbott." 

Nov. 17, 1849, he writes to Mr. Bright, the assistant secre- 
tary, — 

"What shall I do? Go on writing, or demand four thousand 
rupees a year and spend it on 'assistants,' as others do, and then go on, 
and on, and still on ; or shall I attempt to complete my reform, and 
try to induce others to do so ? I am not willing to sit down quietly 
and see thousands on thousands expended for that object at other 
stations, when hundreds only are demanded here. We must have 
but one system for all our missions : they must come to hundreds, 
or we must go to thousands." 

What was done with the fund of five thousand dollars, we 
have never heard. Doubtless a way to spend it was easily 
found ; and doubtless a way will be found to expend the fund 
of thirty thousand dollars, or thereabouts, recently bequeathed 
to the A. B. M. Union for a like object. But if the position 



THE PATRONAGE SYSTEM CONFUTED. 14.") 

taken by Abbott and Beeeber more tbau thirty years ago is 
correct, as we believe it to be, tbe spending of those funds in 
the manner designated by the Christian-hearted donors was, and 
will be, worse than waste. 

The entrance into the way of self-support is always hard, 
and becomes more difficult with each year's overgrowth of 
weeds and briers. The movement will never come about of 
itself. Secretaries and executive committees have a duty to 
perform. In the "Missionary Magazine" for May, 1843, 
p. 112, the editor (secretary?) of that time says, — 

"If other missions are more expensive, cr less successful, it is not 
the fault of the missionaries; and if the Karen mission is cheaper or 
more successful than others, no credit is to be here attributed to the 
Karen missionaries above their brethren. It is to be wholly attributed 
to peculiarly favorable providential circumstances." 

From these.remarks we dissent, of course, entirely, so far as 
they relate to ecouomy in the management of the missions in 
question. Almost every thing, under God, depends upon the 
correctness of the missionary's views, and upon his ability to 
bring the native Christians to his way of thinking. Such an 
utterance from mission head-quarters, and the absence of an 
outspoken, consistent adherence to the policy of self-support, 
paralyze the arm of the man who believes in reform, unless 
he has the power and bravery of an Abbott. Insufficient 
discrimination, and excess in appropriations, and, above all, 
specific donations (not for the support of missionaries) from 
benevolent churches, Sunday schools, and individuals, increase 
the confusion, the waste, and the moral declension, which are 
to-day increasing in some of the fields of the A. B. M. Union. 1 



1 This remark, of course, is to be taken only as the author's opinion. 
He is not alone, however, in that opinion. A missionary correspondent 
writes from the field under date of April 24, 1882, as follows: "Our mis- 
sion work needs to be enlarged, but not in the direction of more American 
mouey for so-called ' station-work.' Too much is expended in that manner 
now. In some quarters there is a tendency to pauperization. Each sue- 



14G BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

To the missionary brethren and sisters who still follow the 
old ways, and, in the language of a secretary of long expe- 
rience, '"estimate the possibilities of their success according 
to the amount of money they get from home, instead of trust- 
ing to the energies of the Spirit," only kind feeling and per- 
sonal confidence are due. But can their plans, in so far as 
they are neglecting the resources around them, and relying on 
America for the support of their preachers and primary schools, 
be hopeful of permanent good? A native ministry which can- 
not so commend itself to fellow-countrymen and to resident 
English Christians as to secure a living is of little worth ; and 
Christians who cannot be aroused to second the efforts of their 
missionaries and an enlightened government for the education 
of their own offspring are unworthy of the name. "American 
support for Americans, Karen support for Karens," with a 
modicum of foreign aid for advanced education, is as safe a 
rule for foreign missions in general as it has proved to be in 
the mission founded by E. L. Abbott. 

ceeding year too many missions want an increase of appropriations; and, 
strange to say, additional converts are made the ground for fresh appeals 
for more money." 

Secretary Murdock uses the following language in his paper on "Apos- 
tolic Missions" (Magazine, July, 1883, p. 180): — 

" There may be such a thing as nursing churches into chronic infancy 
and inertness, instead of exercising them into vigorous power and efficiency, 
by leaving them, under God, to their own resources. . . . Possibly it would 
have been better for the cause of Christianity among the heathen, if this 
wise abstinence in pecuniary help to native churches and evangelists had 
been more closely imitated in our modern missions. ... It might have been 
better if [the missionary] had more carefully guarded the converts from the 
taint and the impediment of mercenary motives, by withholding pecuniary 
aid, except in cases of special need arising from providential distress 01 
from considerations of public utility." 

This subject will be discussed at greater length in the concluding chap- 
ter of this volume, to which the reader is respectfully referred. 






CHAPTER VIII. 

1850. 

" The kingdom of heaven is compared, not to any great kernel or nut, 
but to a grain of mustard-seed, which is one of the least grains, but hath 
in it a property and spirit hastily to get up and spread." — Lord Bacox. 

Much for the time was doubtless accomplished by the dis- 
cussions related in the last chapter, especially in the Karen 
missions ; but the tendency to relapse is powerful in human 
nature, and reform must follow reform in endless succession. 
Thoughtful men may recognize the danger involved in church 
funds, and in the support of religion by the state, but how 
many churches in free America even were ever known to decline 
a legacy, the interest of which would be applied to meet their 
current expenses? It is remarkable that one of the younger 
members of the mission should have been pei - mitted to become 
the leader in a reform of such vital importance and difficulty. 
The circumstances in which Mr. Abbott was providentially 
placed did much, doubtless, to make him the man he was ; but 
rarely has any one done more than he to fashion the circum- 
stances around him into conformity with the pattern which the 
Lord had showed him. Nor this alone in the matter of self- 
support. 

The Burman pastor, Ko Thah-ay, had been ordained b} r Jud- 
son and "Wade in 1820, under peculiar circumstances. In the 
absence of the missionaries he had been persuaded by converts 
in Burma Proper to administer to them the ordinance of bap- 
tism. As he was a worthy and intelligent Christian, of mature 

147 



148 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

character, it was thought best, after the fact, to give to him 
the rights which he had assumed irregularly. This seems, how- 
ever, uot to have been considered a precedent, either by the 
missionaries on the field, or the committee in Boston. At any 
rate, more than fourteen years had elapsed without the ordination 
of a second native in Burma. 

In 1843 Mr. Abbott felt compelled by his own views of duty 
to ordain Myat Kyau and Tway Po, notwithstanding opposition 
on the field, and with the doubtful approval of the executive offi- 
cers after the event (see chap, iv) . The experiment succeeded 
so well, however, that other ordinations speedily followed. The 
fourth man, Kolapau, was ordained by the Tavoy missionaries 
at Matah, in 184G. Soon after, four young men were ordained 
by Messrs. Vinton and Binney, just after their graduation from 
the Seminary. Of this extreme step, the secretary who wrote 
so anxiously in 1843 now speaks as follows : — 

" One of the most gratifying and auspicious incidents in the history 
of the Maulmain Karen mission the past year was the ordination in 
February, 1847, of four Karen preachers, graduates of the seminary 
— Prahhai, Kyapah, Aupau, and Tah-oo. 'Their examination was 
thorough, and well sustained for upwards of five hours. It was con- 
ducted in Karen, but interpreted sufficiently for others to know fully 
the merits of the case. Questions were freely proposed by the dif- 
ferent members of the council, some of the most difficult ones being 
proposed by Karen assistants.' " (" Missionary Magazine," July, 1848, 
p. 260.) 

Me venture to call the ordination of these young men " an 
extreme step;" for, whatever may be true of Americans, a 
Karen, a Burman, or a Telugu fresh from school cannot be 
regarded as a " tried " man : and the event justifies this judg- 
ment. The annual report for 1851 (p. 270) speaks of Kyapah 
as " fallen ; " Aupau, or Oung Ban, soon became deeply involved 
in secular business ; while a third, Prahhai, was later under a 
cloud for years. Tah-oo, older than the other three, held out 
well, and did a good work. For the last twenty years, at least, 
the writer has not known such an experiment to be repeated by 



MR. ABBOTT AS A LEADER. 149 

any missionary in Burma. The ninth man, the celebrated Sau 
Quala, was ordained April 28, 1847 ; the tenth, Ko Panlah of 
Maulmain, in February, 1848 ; and the eleventh, a Burman, 
Moung Pyoo, in Akyab in January, 1850. This year the mis- 
sionaries at Sandoway were prepared to ordain four more, 
Avorthy and long tried men ; but they were providentially hindered 
from doing so until near its close, as reported in the next 
chapter. 

The Bassein churches are nearly ripe also for the formation 
of the first purely native missionary society of a general char- 
acter in Burma. Mr. Abbott's published views on this all- 
important subject, and his well directed, vigorous action, stamp 
him again as emphatically the leader in the Karen Israel of that 
day. 

We resume the narrative. Owing to the addition of the Van 
Meters to the Sandoway mission, Mr. Beeeher built an addi- 
tional dwelling-house the latter part of 1849, with " eleven 
glazed windows and two glazed doors, the remaining doors 
being panelled," at a cost not exceeding five hundred and fifty 
dollars. In Mr. Van Meter's first published letter from Sando- 
way, we find the following : — 

"There are at least three hundred Pwo disciples already gathered 
in connection with this station, Shway Bo's congregation [church ?] 
alone numbering one hundred. With such a beginning we surely can- 
not be discouraged as to the future, especially when we consider the 
limited means through which it has been effected. 

"The present is a critical moment for this people. They have 
been so long asking for a teacher, and their cry has been so long dis- 
regarded, that they have begun to turn in another direction. A num- 
ber of them have received a flattering reception from the Catholic 
priests at Bassein, who have been endeavoring of late to seduce the 
assistants and other Christians. Brother Abbott learned, only a short 
time since, of an attempt to seduce the Sgau assistants, by distributing 
money among them after he left for America. Quite a number of 
them received very unexpectedly a gift of five rupees each. But at 
present there is little apprehension as to their influence upon the dis- 
ciples. . . . There is nothing more trying to us just now than the 



150 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

fact that we cannot cou verse with these disciples, who, for the first 
time, have seen a teacher whom they could call their own. ... I hope 
that I may acquire sufficient knowledge to be able to converse with 
tolerable accuracy and freedom during my visit to the jungle next 
cold season. The Sgau school is in a very interesting state, there 
being upwards of seventy pupils. Both the ordained preachers and 
a number of the other assistants are receiving instruction from 
Brothers Abbott and Beecher in theological studies." 

Dr. Binney reports this year, that ten of his twenty-seven 
pupils are from Mr. Abbott's distant field, and only two from 
Maulmain itself. Mr. Abbott left his station about the first 
of December, 1849, to meet the native preachers for a term of 
study in Ong Khyoung. Mr. Beecher, owing to the serious 
illness of his wife, did not follow until some weeks later. On 
the 11th of February he writes of Mr. Abbott's bad health 
and of his own labors : — 

"On arriving at Ong Khyoung, Jan. 19, I found Brother Abbott, 
though convalescent, still suffering severely from a cough, and well- 
nigh worn out from the excessive labors of the season. Brother Van 
Meter was also there, having just returned from a visit to the Two 
villages farther down the coast. It was thought best, after a few 
hours consultation, that I should remain and aid Bi-other Abbott in 
instructing the native preachers, instead of proceeding to visit the 
churches as I had expected. The great majority of the churches in 
Burma have never been visited by a missionary, but, so far as we can 
learn, are quite as prosperous as those on the coast, which have 
enjoyed annual visits. 

" The two weeks spent with Brother Abbott and the preachers 
were to me very pleasant and profitable. Such seasons as these 
afford the best opportunity for acquiring the language, so as to be 
able to use it with effect; for the discussions which naturally arise 
in a course of familiar lectures disclose Karen habits and modes of 
thought, without a knowledge of which it is impossible to interpret 
the language and doctrines of Scripture in a clear and forcible man- 
ner. The preachers have enjoyed a better opportunity for becoming 
acquainted with the doctrines of the gospel this season than ever 
before, and we have reason to believe that great good will result from 
Brother Abbott's well-directed and faithful labors with these chosen 
men." 



MR. ABBOTT AS A LEADER. 151 

After referring to the delay in the ordination of the well- 
approved, but self-distrustful candidates, he continues : — 

" Immediately after this the preachers -were dismissed, and I 
started for a short visit to the churches on the Baumee River. 
Nearly one hundred disciples from Burma were awaiting my arrival 
at Kyoukadin. They said, on taking my hand, that many of them 
had worshipped God six or eight years, but had never before seen a 
white teacher. The greater portion of them were females, who had 
travelled two or three days over the rugged Yoma Mountains, to see 
those who seem to be the objects of their highest earthly interest. 
They were disappointed in not meeting Brother Abbott, and had many 
inquiries to make respecting him. They often spoke of the interest 
they felt in us, of remembering us in every prayer, and especially of 
praying for the mama, after they heard of her illness : their desire to 
see her was ' greater than we can express.' Some of those who came 
from [Bassein] appear to be much more devoted than any I have seen 
elsewhere. Some of them have a singular form of Christian saluta- 
tion. They take their teacher's hand, and, before speaking to him, 
spend a few moments in silent prayer, then warmly and repeatedly 
press his hand, and, when this is done, inquire after his health aud 
answer his questions. 

" This company, together with those from the vicinity, formed an 
attractive audience. It was easy and delightful to preach to them. 
There were seventeen candidates for baptism from Burma, and one 
from this side. After being formally received by their respective 
churches, we assembled on the river-bank, near by, to witness the pro- 
fession of their faith. ... As each rose from the baptismal grave, 
praises were sung to Him who 'died for our sins,' and 'was raised 
again for our justification.' The commemoration of the Lord's death 
in the afternoon was also solemn and interesting. In the evening, 
bade the dear disciples farewell, each saying, as I gave the parting 
hand, ' Pray for us, O teacher! ' " 

On the 17th of February Mr. Abbott wrote a word as to his 
own health : — 

" The doctor hardly knows what to do with my cough, fever, night- 
sweats, etc., but thinks they may be symptomatic of a sub-acute 
inflammation of lungs, etc. I have shut myself up, and am going 
to keep quiet a long time." 



152 BASSEIN KAREN .MISSION. 

He writes again on the 18th : — 

" I have had no fever for thirty-six hours, and trust I am improv- 
ing. I suppose Sandoway is as good a place as I could be in for the 
improvement of health, excepting upon the sea ; but I have no idea 
of taking a voyage at present." 

It was not until the 12th of March that he rallied so as to 
send to the secretary an account of his work at Ong Khyoung 
this season. He writes with an apology for not rewriting and 
correcting his weighty communication : — 

" You have learned, by a previous letter, that I spent the cold season 
with the preachers at Ong Khyoung. "We have concluded not to 
attempt to get them together at Sandoway during the rains. I think 
this course carries out the spirit of the committee's instructions in 
regard to boarding-schools for preachers in a more satisfactory man- 
ner than a strict adherence to the letter would have done. The dis- 
tance is so great, and the time of travelling falling within the hot 
and the rainy seasons, but few of them could be longer induced to 
come to Sandoway at all. I therefore made the arrangement with 
them that they all meet at Ong Khyoung in November, with the 
expectation of remaining three months. Every preacher connected 
with our mission was there, with one exception, and he was detained 
by illness. 

" I deem it absolutely essential that I see all these men together 
once in the year. Even were I permitted to visit Burma, and go from 
church to church through the whole land, 1 should still deem it essen- 
tial to have an annual association of pastors and churches, and to 
have them all together for several weeks, perhaps months. They 
require a more thorough knowledge of the Scriptures. They cannot 
go away to Maulmain and pursue a course of study that would require 
years. They have no libraries at their homes to aid them in the 
study of the Bible. They have no means in the jungle of acquiring 
knowledge, excepting what we give them; and, indeed, there is not 
a book adapted to aid them in understanding the New Testament. 
How can they ' understand ' except some man should 'guide ' them? 
What they hear one year, they forget before the next comes round, 
so that they require line upon line, and will for years to come. "While 
at Ong Khyoung, I took them thoroughly through Hebrews and Ro- 
mans, and also through some small primary works in theology. 



MR. ABBOTT AS A LEADER. 153 

" Again : all these men are laborers in the field, — with but few 
exceptions, pastors of churches. They not only have their own per- 
sonal doubts and troubles, but, in many cases, difficulties with their 
churches in matters of doctrine and discipline. Pastors and churches 
may get into a quarrel here as well as in America. Divisions also 
have appeared between different pastors, and certain hard questions 
have agitated the whole community. They all come up to the mis- 
sionary, each with his head filled with his own troubles or wrongs 
or difficulties, which he cannot surmount. All these matters must be 
settled, and these discordant elements brought into harmony, by the 
personal teachings of the missionary. All this requires time, patience, 
and power. I know not what others may do ; but I cannot establish 
order and union, and control the whole, unless I have all the pastors 
in my presence. 

" An important subject, and one that agitated us more than any 
other, related to the support of native preachers. In 1848 I sent 
circulars to all the churches, referring particularly to this subject, and 
requested them to send in statements to the association this year. 
Consequently the preachers brought each his epistle. I will translate 
one as a specimen of the whole. They differed only in immaterial 
points, and in the amount given to the pastors. 

" ' The year of Christ, 1849. The elders of the church at Great 
Rock, to Teacher Abbott: May the blessing of our Father God be 
upon you. Amen. We received your letter, and are very happy. 
The Lord Jesus Christ died for us, and we ought to do something to 
enlarge his kingdom. We gave our teacher, Shway Bo, during the 
year, twelve rupees, eight annas; sixty baskets of paddy; one hun- 
dred viss of dried fish (365 pounds) ; fifty viss of salt ; a bundle of 
tobacco, etc. We are very poor, O teacher! (too true), and can do but 
little. Pray for us, that we may be blessed.' 

" The letters indicate that the churches are beginning to perform 
this work in the right way. All were read to the association, and 
each pastor or teacher aided as his case might require. The churches 
did nobly last year ; and, in my circular letter, I did not fail to tell 
them so. Eight pastors are supported entirely by their churches. 
They voluntarily renounced all aid from the mission, — noble-spirited 
men ! The sacrifice they have thus made affords the most satisfactory 
evidence of the genuineness of their Christian spirit that I have ever 
seen exhibited in this mission. Besides these, there are thirty-seven, 
including five itinerants, aided by the mission. The whole amount 



154 BASSETN KAREN MISSION. 

expended during the year was about seven hundred rupees, an aver- 
age of less than twenty rupees to each individual. The committee 
will not suspect that that money was expended on hirelings. These 
churches are very poor. Their taxes are heavy in this province; but 
in Burma Proper they are ground down to the dust, under the iron 
heel of despotism. We shall still require more or less aid from the 
committee, — that aid which has hitherto been so promptly bestowed. 

"Evangelization also claimed a good deal of attention. It is a 
subject for these pastors and churches (as well as the missionary) to 
consider by what means the Karens now in darkness are to be evan- 
gelized. Whatever measures may be proposed by others, it is my 
firm belief that the Karen people are to be converted through the 
instrumentality of a Karen ministry, — of course under the instruc- 
tions and guidance of the missionary. So it has been from the first, 
history being witness. At Maulmain and Tavoy, at Rangoon and 
Bassein, natives have done the work of preaching the gospel to their 
countrymen; the work of the missionary being to baptize converts, 
organize churches, and instruct and control the native ministry. Not 
half the converts have ever seen a missionary ; and, if we cannot go 
into Burma, they never will. 

" But how is such a ministry to be secured? Let us look at a few 
facts, and we shall be better able to answer the question. We have, 
in Bassein and Sandoway, forty-five native preachers ; in Maulmain 
and Rangoon, I suppose forty; and in Tavoy and Mergui, twenty 
more, — upwards of a hundred already in the field. There are also a 
large number in Mr. Binney's school ; and a good many young men, 
who are now only school-teachers, will doubtless become preachers. 
Here we have an agency on which, it seems to me, we may rely. Con- 
sider also, that a large majority of these ministers — I do not like to 
hear them called 'assistants,' or 'native helpers:' they are ministers 
of the gospel, ambassadors of Christ, or nothing ; at any rate, I like 
to feel that they are such, while preaching to them — these ministers 
are pastors of churches. 

•• Xow, these churches should not only be self-supporting (if possible), 
but reproductive. They should be taught that the responsibility of 
raising up and sending forth evangelists to their fellow-countrymen 
rests upon them, and shown, that, what individuals cannot do, a com- 
bination may. I endeavored to make the pastors at Ong Khyoung 
understand that they, as a body, were deeply responsible in this mat- 
ter; that they are to recognize and send out the heralds of mercy; 



MR. ABBOTT AS A LEADER. 155 

and that they are responsible for their support. Evangelists of course 
are to feel that they are acknowledged by, and responsible to, that 
body, and not alone to the missionary. There is as yet no mechanical 
organization : the thing is in its infancy, the idea but just planted. 

"Allowing, then, that we have the nucleus of an instrumentality 
by which the Karen nation is to be evangelized, the question arises, 
the most important of all, how is that instrumentality to be multiplied 
and rendered efficient ? I am fully of the opinion, that it is not to be 
done by multiplying stations and large and expensive mission estab- 
lishments; much less by a profuse expenditure of money on the 
natives. I think it is high time that the natives of this country, 
preachers as well as others, should begin to learn that mission money 
costs something, — that it is absolutely of some value, and that every 
missionary has not an exhaustless patronage, which he is at liberty 
to bestow at will upon men who may gather around his standard. 
The first successful preachers among the Karens — Ko Thahbyu and 
his co-adjutors in Maulmain, Rangoon, and Tavoy ; and Shway Weing, 
Bleh Po and their associates in Bassein — were not men secured and 
held to their work by rupees. They went forth prompted by their 
own convictions and zeal, living as the fowls of heaven live, on the 
goodness of the Lord ; and multitudes, through the divine blessing on 
their labors, became obedient to the faith. The men on whom I now 
rely for publishing the gospel abroad are not those who are tenacious 
for pay. ' Assistants ' may be multiplied by money, but then you are 
not quite sure that you have added to the strength and efficiency of 
that agency which is to convert the people to God. 

" The means by which an efficient ministry is to be secured are so 
simple that they need only to be stated, — the preaching of the mis- 
sionary, attended by the power of the Holy Spirit sent down from 
on high. We have already all the human elements of final success; 
and may God Almighty speedily give us — missionaries, native preach- 
ers, churches, and all — the divine endowment ! As a general principle, 
we cannot expect that a native ministry will be inspired with an en- 
lightened zeal, except in proportion to their knowledge. If they are 
sanctified for the accomplishment of the great and glorious work 
proposed, they will be sanctified through the truth. That truth is to 
be preached to them by the missionary ; and, admitting that the present 
stations are well sustained, and their operations efficiently conducted, 
under the influence of the spirit of God, not many years will have 
elapsed before every Karen will have heard of the great salvation. 



156 



BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 



" The present number of churches is forty. There are also a great 
number of Christian congregations which meet for worship regularly, 
and, in many cases, have a number of baptized Christians ; but these 
are not included with the churches, as they have not regularly ap- 
pointed teachers. The number baptized last year was two hundred 
and forty-four. Eight were excluded, and twenty died ; which leaves 
a net gain of two hundred and sixteen for the year. There are many 
candidates for baptism, not only in the new regions, as stated last 
year, but connected with all the congregations in Burma. The con- 
versions reported at the association indicate the continued triumphs 
of the truth ; and, in many cases, they are of an unusually interesting 
character. Many of the old chiefs, patriarchs, or heads of families, 
call them what we may, who have hitherto resisted all the influences 
of the gospel, and clung to their old superstitions and sins, remaining 
either in a state of sullen resistance, or of deadly hostility, while 
their families and kindred have become Christians, have, within the 
year, bowed to the omnipotence of truth, and are waiting to be baptized. 
Many more would have been added to the churches, had there been 
ordained pastors to administer the ordinance. 

" To supply this want, we had intended to ordain at least four of 
the preachers at Ong Khyoung. But Brother Beecher was detained 
at home till near the close of the session, and Brother Van Meter left 
when he arrived. It was desirable to have both present. Moreover, 
one of the candidates was taken alarmingly ill. Still the preachers, 
after a day of special prayer, selected two for ordination, having been 
taught that the entire responsibility rested upon them. These two 
did not object at first; but, as the time approached, they began to 
reveal their misgivings. Their earnestness in prayer and then - mental 
struggles were intense ; and they persisted in wishing to be allowed 
to wait another year, fearing to take upon themselves the responsi- 
bilities that ordination would impose. Action was finally postponed. 
I should like to live another year to see them ordained. 

"The number of pupils in our village schools has not increased 
according to our wishes. The returns are not complete, but the whole 
number will be less than that of last year. Two difficulties have 
been met which we trust will not prove insurmountable. We lack 
a sufficient number of qualified teachers. To supply this need is one 
main object of our boarding-school, and should be of all boarding- 
schools in the Karen mission. Xo child should be brought into these 
schools to be taught what he can learn in his own village. Another 



MR. ABBOTT AS A LEADER. 157 

difficulty arises from the poverty of the people. If they do all they 
can to support their pastors, they are not able in many cases to sup- 
port schools. School-teachers must live as well as others. Still, I 
trust we shall be able somehow to supply this want. The Karens 
will learn to read in someway; but the influence of a good school 
upon the children of a village can only be appreciated by those who 
have witnessed its results through a series of years. We ought to 
have two thousand children taught in such schools three months each 
year, and we shall not feel satisfied till we can report that number. 

" Hitherto, in our operations here, but little has been done system- 
atically in sabbath schools. In fact, the native preachers did not 
see clearly how the thing was to be done. Fortunately, at Ong 
Khyoung there is a large church and congregation ; and, the preachers 
being all present, I endeavored to enforce precept by example, and 
show them how it is to be done. We cannot expect that these schools 
will now be conducted on the plan of expounding Scripture. The 
Karens are not yet competent for that. Catechisms suited to their 
state of knowledge will be the only method for years to come. We 
have two of these adapted to the object, — Mrs. Wade's, which is his- 
torical ; and mine, which is doctrinal. There are some other works, 
small, and good as far as they go. We hope the day will come when 
all Karen Christian congregations will learn their lessons from these 
and similar books during the week, and, on the sabbath, repeat their 
lessons to teachers competent to expound and enforce the great truths 
they contain. I rely on this kind of teaching as one of the most 
efficient instrumentalities for imparting Christian truth to the people." 

In a postscript he says to the secretary : — 

" I should like to give my reasons in full why I think that to mul- 
tiply ' stations ' will not probably augment the efficiency of the native 
ministry, or conduce materially to the extension of the gospel. 1 I am 
afraid that my thoughts about mission establishments in general will 
have to come out if I live. ... I do not care to listen to the advice 
of friends who are urging me to go home. I may perhaps go to 
Maulmain. ... I can only rely on the rich grace that abounds to 
sinners through Christ our Lord, and calmly await the decrees of 
Heaven." 

1 So far as we can learn, Mr. Abbott was not permitted to set forth the 
reasons for these views ; but the fact that these were his matured views 
should have due weight with all who are called to direct in mission affairs. 



158 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

During this travelling season, Mr. Van Meter visited five of 
the ten heathen Pwo villages on the coast of southern Arakan. 
In his account of the tour he gives a sketch of two valued Pwo 

assistants : — 

" Thahbwah, our first Pwo teacher, has been preaching, since he 
left us, with much acceptance. He seems to be universally esteemed 
in the jungle for his amiable disposition, and his services have been 
sought for in more than one direction. He now leaves his own vil- 
lage, where there are but few Pwos, and enters upon a new field of 
much promise near Bassein. Thung Choke, the fourth assistant, the 
eldest of the four, and probably as intelligent and useful as either 
of his more favored associates, has been preaching and teaching for 
five years, at the same time assisting himself in part by manual 
labor, and iu part by the practice of medicine, occasionally receiving 
a little help from his people. When asked by Brother Abbott if he 
now wished any aid from us, he replied, that, if it was desirable for 
him to give himself wholly to the work, he would require a little. 
The sum named, thirty rupees, was cheerfully given him. His whole 
library in Pwo consists of a copy of Matthew and a few tracts. I 
could give him only a soiled catechism picked up from the rubbish at 
Sandoway. He understands Sgau, however, and has the Sgau Testa- 
ment. He has a congregation of over one hundred, not more than 
half of whom are professed believers. Tau Lau has ninety in his 
village : whether all baptized or not, I am unable to say." 

On the 11th of May, at the request of the Executive Com- 
mittee, the brethren in Sandoway organized themselves into 
a distinct mission by the choice of Mr. Abbott, chairman ; 
Mr. Beecher, secretary ; Mr. Van Meter, treasurer. We sup- 
pose that the only change in the working of the mission after 
this arrangement was in the matter of book-keeping. May 20 
Mr. Beecher reports that Myat Kyau had baptized a hundred 
and sixty-five converts in Bassein during a recent tour. Tway 
Po, a month later, had baptized a hundred and forty-five in 
the same district, making three hundred and ten in all. 

The boarding-school was dismissed at the close of Septem- 
ber. Owing, in part, to the extensive prevalence of cholera in 
the Christian villages during the hot season, the average num- 



.1/72. ABBOTT AS A LEADER. 1">9 

ber of pupils for the term of five months had been only twenty. 
After the daily Bible lesson in the Gospels, Galatians, or Ephe- 
sians, arithmetic was the principal stud}*. Mrs. Beecher's class 
of lads in English was sent over at the close of this term to 
join Mrs. Binney's school in Maulmain. On the last Sunday 
the communion was celebrated ; and a Burman disciple, Shway 
Eing, whose religious history is briefly sketched by Mr. Abbott 
in the next chapter, was received by baptism. 

Nov. 20 Mr. Abbott, in replying to a letter from Secretary 
Bright, further unfolds his views on important questions of 
mission policy : — 

" Our theories will not evangelize the Karens. Our machinery may, 
or may not, be the means by which it is to be done. We may theo- 
rize, and one say, ' Only give us lots of money to hire a host of preach- 
ers, and the Karens are evangelized : ' or, ' Let us pursue this or that 
course, and the Karens are evangelized.' I think, however, there is 
common ground where we can all stand. That missionaries are 
going into every small village, or city even, of Burma or China, is not 
to be thought of for a moment. . . . Heathen countries must be 
evangelized through a native ministry. That ministry must be 
educated by foreign aid. Give to them and their country the Bible 
and theology, education to teachers and ministers, books, etc., and a 
general guidance such as Paul gave to the churches he had planted. 
Of course missionaries are to plant churches in great cities, as Paul 
did. But these ministers, when educated, must not become the hired 
men of the missionary. After we have given to the countiy or 
people an educated ministry, teachers, the Bible, and a literature, the 
rest must be self-sustaining. Karens must sustain Karens, is a senti- 
ment I have re-iterated to our native preachers here. Churches must 
sustain themselves, must begin, must learn, and believe and feel that that 
is the laic of Christ's kingdom. This missionaries must teach if we 
would have the native ministry and people believe it and begin to 
act upon the principle. 

" As to securing a native ministry, we are getting on admirably, — 
thanks be to God for ever and ever ! . . . We have men enough to 
preach the gospel to every Karen hamlet in a very few years. 1 We 

1 I believe that this has been done over and over again in all the Sgau 
villages that remain heathen in the Bassein district. — Ed: 



ICO BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

want — we want now — the Holy Spirit, power from on high to effect 
the evangelization of the Karens, more than we want men or money 
or theories. So I believe, and so I teach." 

Mr. Abbott's tender regard for his friends appears in this, as 
in so many of his letters. This time it is, " How are the}* at 
Haverhill? and why does not Train write me?" In the next 
it is, " Kind regards to the executive officers at the Rooms, not 
forgetting Brother Shaw." 

Again in December he writes, — 

" Common schools form one of the most important departments of 
labor and usefulness to which our minds can be directed. "What 
would the United States be, with all her other institutions of religion 
and learning, were it not for 'common schools'? And what will the 
Karen people be without them ? I am not sure but we shall deem it 
a duty to ask for an appropriation for them. We shall not hesitate 
to do so, if we think money can be expended in that way without 
doing more hurt than good." 

Again, we quote for the benefit of sickly persons, who desire 
to go out as missionaries : — 

" If is really ' a consumptive case,' he will find this a bad place 

for him. He might live longer here than in a cold climate, and he 
might not. This is a bad climate for feeble lungs. Such cases ought 

never to come on a mission. was one, — well to-day, and a cough 

to-morrow ; no heart or strength to engage in that hard labor which 
anticipates its results for years to come; away on a trip for health, 
and better; a brief time of study; then a cough again, discourage- 
ment, and all given up. It requires good health and all one's energy 
to prepare for labor in the mission field." 

It is unnecessary to say, probably, that the disease which 
was now so soon to end Mr. Abbott's valuable life and labors 
was not brought with him to Burma. It was, without doubt, the 
direct result of years of exposure, overwork, anxiety, and grief. 






CHAPTER IX. 

1851. 

" We who are to be the spiritual conquerors of the world should send, 
not our mediocre men, butoj»* very best, — those who, not only in faith and 
self-denial, in courage and meekness, but also in linguistic attainments, in 
capacity for organization, in many-sided, practical resource, far surpass 
the clergy at home." — Dr. Chuistlieb. 

The annual associations of the native churches in Burma 
have a retrospective as well as a prospective character. The 
results of the previous year's labor are reported and tabulated, 
while plans are formed, and funds provided for the work of the 
year to come. As the Burmese lunar month is followed in the 
appointments from j'ear to year, to secure as much of the moon- 
light and nocturnal coolness as possible, both for the meetings 
and the long journey to and fro, the time varies, generally fall- 
ing within the limits of the new year, but sometimes, as on this 
occasion, at the close of the old. As this is the last general 
meeting which the beloved Abbott will ever hold with his 
beloved Karens on earth, the good man's report of the meet- 
ing, and the thoughts suggested to him by the proceedings, will 
be read with peculiar interest, notwithstanding the length. 

" Sandoway, January, 1851. I have just returned from the annual 
meeting, held at Ong Khyoung from the 12th to the lGth of Decem- 
ber. Most of the preachers were present, and a good number of the 
elders, but not so many of the latter as we hope to see in future years. 
Written reports were read from nearly all the churches : the excep- 
tions were Pantanau and the churches east of that place. The letters 
in general indicate a degree of stability and prosperity highly satis- 

1G1 



162 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

factory. The statistics for the year 1850 are as follows: Forty-four 
churches, forty-eight native preachers, five hundred and twenty-nine 
baptized, fourteen excluded, and a hundred and fifty-one deceased. 
These forty-four churches include the eight in Arakan, but are exclu- 
sive of many little clusters of Christians in various places not organ- 
ized as churches. They all have worship regularly on the sabbath, 
have succeeded to some extent in establishing sabbath schools : all 
aid more or less in supporting their own preachers. The majority 
have convenient places of worship; and they are, as a whole, maintain- 
ing the institutions of the gospel and the order of the Lord's house 
according to the divine pattern." 

Again the missionary gives expression to one of his fondest 
hopes : — 

" The Karen churches, especially in Burma, are fulfilling a high 
mission. The proud, pharisaieal Boodhist, the polluted idolater, the 
wicked of all grades, are reading the blameless, virtuous lives of the 
Christian Karens, and are becoming convinced that a religion that can 
produce such fruits is divine. An impression is thus being made 
which promises glorious things for Burma. jS^ot a few Burmans are 
already attracted to the truth by that blessed influence. God con- 
founds the wisdom of this world and things that are mighty by those 
that are weak and simple. May we not hope that the Karen churches 
will become the consecrated instrumentality for the conversion of 
Burma to God? 

"The churches succeed in supporting their pastors beyond my 
expectation. Their letters read at the association show that they are 
beginning in the right way. That work, however, will demand the 
exercise of a powerful guiding influence ; more especially, as there are 
conflicting views, and, what is worse, conflicting practice, among those 
who 'episcopize' the whole. It becomes us all to take care how we 
lay the foundation, and with what we build; for posterity will judge 
our work. In one view of the case I am not without apprehensions, 
but in the light of the promises all is clear. Our preachers are mul- 
tiplying : we now have forty-eight, including the six ordained pastors. 
There is also a large class studying at Maulmain. Upon these men 
depend our hopes of the final triumph of the gospel, and the perpe- 
tuity of Christian institutions in the land. There are varieties of 



LAST TEAR'S WORK IN SAND0WA7. 1C3 

character, and degrees of influence and efficiency among them; but, 
taking them all in all, we have an excellent company connected with 
this mission. And we record, with devout gratitude to God, that 
none of them, during the past year, have given us occasion to weep 
over their downfall. 

" Most of those baptized were connected with churches in Burma, 
and were baptized by the native pastors. The few in this province 
and around Sandoway were baptized by Brother Beecher. One of 
the pastors from Rangoon baptized a good many near Pantanau, I 
suppose near one hundred, which will make the whole number bap- 
tized during the year over six hundred, all of whom are connected 
with established Christian congregations. Including the deaths in 
the Pantanau churches, and those who, though not baptized, died 
in the Christian faith, we may safely say that four hundred have 
died during the year, the greater number of cholera. Whole villages 
are broken up by that fearful disease, and scattered like leaves before 
the storm. 

" One of the chief obstacles to the social improvement of the 
Karens is their disposition to rove from place to place ; to build light, 
frail huts, here this year, and away to another spot the next. The 
chief cause of this propensity is the prevalence of violent contagious 
or epidemic diseases. Some of our best and largest villages, not only 
in Arakan and Burma, but in Maulmain and Tavoy, have been broken 
up from this cause. It is an evil which the present generation, I fear, 
will not be able to remedy. But what a consoling reflection, that 
instead of meeting death with dread, and the awful forebodings which 
the approach of eternity awakens in every heathen mind, so many 
of the Karen people now walk through the dark valley fearlessly, 
singing, — 

' Welcome the tomb! 
Since Jesus has lain there, I dread not its gloom!' 

" Among the deceased was Wah Dee, the pastor at Great Plains. 
He had gone into Burma, was attacked there with cholera, and was 
soon with the dead. He emigrated to Arakan in 1841, and settled 
with the people of his village at Buffalo. In 1842 I baptized at that 
place seventy-five within one hour, I recollect. Wah Dee was of 
the number. He moved with his village to Great Plains, and was the 
faithful and beloved pastor of that church till his death. He was 
emphatically a good man ; not great or learned, but a man who made 



1G4 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

full proof of his ministry, and is blessed in his death. He ruled his 
own house and the church of God well, and his name is fragrant and 
hallowed. His family will not be forgotten or neglected. 

" The day-schools have not come up as we could wish : not more 
than two hundred have been connected with regular schools this year. 
The cholera broke up many ; in some of the largest villages, indeed, 
there was no school at all. We lack teachers. More have been 
demanded than we could supply from our station-school. To provide 
for that demand will claim all our time during the rainy season. 
Common schools, among this uneducated Christian community, next 
in importance to a native ministry, call for our vigilant and constant 
care. 

"During the meeting three brethren were ordained to the work of 
the ministry, — the same who were before us a year ago. They came 
accompanied by the elders of their churches, who testified to their 
character and standing, and also to the wish of the people that they 
might be ordained. They were examined and accepted Dec. 14. 
They passed the examination very satisfactorily, and were unani- 
mously approved. I needed no new tests to satisfy my own mind ; for 
I have watched their course from the beginning, and was ready to 
ordain them a year ago. 

" On the 15th they were recognized as ministers of Christ, by the 
laying on of hands, and by prayer. Brethren Beecher, Van Meter, 
Tway Po, and Myat Kyau participated in the imposition of hands; 
and Myat Kyau offered the consecrating prayer. The services 
throughout were adapted to make a deep and lasting impression, and 
were listened to by a large congregation with breathless attention. 
It added not a little to the interest, that Brother Van Meter gave the 
hand of fellowship with an appropriate address in Pwo. It was new 
to the people to hear that language from a missionary. Xearly all 
understood, and all listened with delight. It was the installation of 
the Pwo department. 

" Another interesting feature of the exercises was the address of 
Tway Po, — the more interesting to me, perhaps, from the reminis- 
cences which it awakened. The congregation were evidently deeply 
affected. In the midst stood the three men who had been recognized 
as ambassadors of Christ. Before them, a few feet distant, stood 
Tway Po facing them, leaning gently with his right arm against one 
of the large pillars that support the roof of the chapel. The personal 
appearance of Tway Po is prepossessing, his manners dignified and 




Rev. Mao Yay <>j- Kyootoo. 



LAST YEAR'S WORK IN SAN DOW AT. 1G5 

ministerial. He is mild in his address, — mild but effective, quietly 
forcible, — of few words, but those well chosen, and adapted to touch 
the heart. He opened his mouth, and gave to his ordained brethren 
a few words of admonition to fulfil with fidelity the ministry they 
had received of the Lord Jesus. There they stood, Karen charging 
his brother Karens to magnify their office as the messengers of 
heaven to a wicked world, and enforcing the admonition by words 
of wisdom and truth. As 1 looked and listened, I experienced one of 
those rare moments, when the recollections of past years, their min- 
gled emotions, hopes and fears, come rushing in upon the mind in a 
torrent, and gushing tears relieve the agitated heart. 

" These men before me have passed over from demon darkness 
into the kingdom of God's dear Son. What a translation! The 
ignorant, degraded, devil-worshipping Karen is now the sanctified 
minister of righteousness, standing in the great congregation of God's 
people, Karens like himself, pouring forth from an enlightened heart 
those truths which were to be the guide of his brother ministers in 
discharging the solemn responsibilities which their ordination had 
imposed, — truths which he had so recently learned and made the 
guide of his own life. What a transformation of character ! It was 
a joyful sight, — joyful not only as an historical fact, indicative of the 
triumph of the gospel and the sanction of God, but by its bright and 
inspiring promise of the future. Would that all the friends of mis- 
sions could have been there to witness the scene. But it would have 
been necessary, perhaps, that they should first share in my experi- 
ences, in order to sympathize fully with my sensibilities. We com- 
mended the beloved men to God and to the word of his grace, and 
sent them forth on their career in the name of the Lord. We shall 
watch their course with unabating anxiety, and with prayers to the 
great Head of the church, that he may keep his own to the end. 
Glory be to his holy name forever 1 

" The names of the three men ordained are Mau Yay, Myat Keh, 
and Po Kway. 1 The first is pastor of the church at Kyootoo, where 
I sat on my mat at midnight, in the open air, many years ago, and 

1 The latter died near the close of 1880. He was the father of sixteen 
children, by one mother, including Rev. Myassah Po Kway, whom many 
friends in Hamilton, N.Y., and Plainfield, N.J., will remember. Myat 
Keh was the pastor and uncle of Moung Tway, well known in Cambridge 
and Newton, Mass. The two first named still live, full of years and honor. 
Three abler or more devoted servants of Christ, it would be hard to find in 



1G6 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

preached the gospel of Christ. The ' young chief ' of those days is 
a member of that church. It is large and prosperous, has built a 
beautiful place of worship, supports its pastor, and makes liberal 
contributions for benevolent purposes. Mau Yay has been acting 
pastor of the church since its formation ten years ago, and has main- 
tained a reputation without spot. The other two are younger, but 
their reputation is as fair as his. They have been for several years 
acting pastors of large churches, which support them entirely, main- 
tain among themselves the institutions of the gospel and schools, and 
contribute largely for other objects. Thus they start on their career 
with bright prospects, but God alone seeth the end. My yearnings 
over them, who can declare ! 

" The fourth candidate, a Pwo, was detained on the way by the 
illness of a travelling companion. The Pwos in Burma must have 
one of their own people ordained. Shway Bo was approved as a can- 
didate a year ago, and he will probably be ordained later in the sea- 
son at Buffalo. 

" During the association, a society was organized which, in other 
lands, would be called a ' Home Mission Society.' Hitherto, this work 
has been conducted here as in other missions, — by native preachers in 
the employ of the missionary. That system has its evils, which none 
can know but those who have endeavored, after the preachers and 
churches are brought under its influence, to break up the system, to 
substitute for the mission treasury the native churches themselves, 
and cast all the preachers on those churches for support. Preachers 
have been employed by us here, as in other places, who are now, or 
should be, employed by a missionary society conducted and sustained 
by the Karens themselves. At this point we have finally arrived, 
with a fair prospect of success. That pastors are to be sustained by 
their own churches, if possible, need not be repeated. The object we 
propose in organizing such a society is not to beget a missionary 
spirit, or to awaken missionary zeal, or to create that disposition in 
the churches which prompts to effort for the conversion of the world. 
That is not the work of a missionary society, but of the pastor; and, 
if not effected by him, the most that a society can do will be to pro- 
duce fitful efforts, a convulsive, momentary zeal, which dies as soon 

any Eastern land. Their career speaks well for the capacity of their race, 
and for the training and discernment of their first teacher, Mr. Ahhott, 
as also for the later influence of Mr. Beecher. Neither of the three ever 
had the benefit of study at Maulmain or Rangoon. 



LAST YEAR'S WORK IN SANDOWAY. 167 

as the cause that produced it is withdrawn. We organize a voluntary 
association to give expression to the faith and zeal, the prayers and 
benevolence, of the churches ; to open a channel through which 
streams may flow out to bless and fertilize surrounding deserts. 
When a combination of churches can effect this object more efficiently 
than individual churches, then it is the duty of churches to combine. 

" Were there but one Christian on earth, it might be said to him, 
' Thou art the light of the world,' and it would be his duty to en- 
lighten the world in the best way he could. Were there but one 
church on earth, consisting of twelve men, it would be said to that 
church, — to the twelve individuals, — 'Ye are the light of the world,' 
and it would be their duty to enlighten the world. Could they do 
it better as individuals, each acting on his own responsibility, then it 
would be their duty to act as individuals. What one man might not 
be able to effect, the twelve combined might ; then it is their duty to 
unite, and act as a society. Individual and united action are both 
alike duty. Were there but twelve churches on earth, numbering 
one thousand members, it would be said to the twelve churches, and 
to the thousand members alike, ' Ye are the light of the world,' and 
it would be their duty to enlighten the world. What one church 
might not be able to accomplish, the twelve acting in union might. 
Then it is their duty to act in union. The command binds each 
individual of the thousand, as an individual, as a member of the 
church, and each church as a member of the whole. 

"What particular direction the action of the whole, acting as a 
society, may take, rests with the one thousand individuals to decide. 
All must act individually if that is the best way; by individual 
churches if that be better; or the thousand must act as one man if 
that be best. And let individuals beware how they decide, lest their 
action stop short with individual or church action, because they can 
find no New- Testament model for a 'Missionary Union.' Should 
they refuse to combine, what they might effect, acting in concert, is 
not done. The world is not enlightened ; and the saying, ' Ye are the 
light of the world,' so far as relates to those twelve churches and that 
one thousand individuals, is not true. 

" It is a simple truth, that every individual is responsible for all 
that he might effect, as an individual, as a member of an individual 
church, and as a member of the great Body, — the Church Universal, 
acting in concert and union. Each individual church also is bound 
as a member of the whole. 



1G8 BASS ELY KAREN MISSION. 

"But what is an individual church? Supposing there are fifty 
members, men and women, in a particular church : what is that church 
but fifty individuals, who live in one place, and write their names in 
one book, and, in many matters, act in concert as one body ? Those 
fifty individuals can never lose their personal identity by being ab- 
sorbed in what they call a church, — can never lose in the church their 
individual responsibility to God, or their obligations to a dying world. 
If they can, take away those fifty individuals, and where is the 
church ? 

"Each individual is bound to do what he can to enlighten the 
world as an individual, or as a member of the church ; which may 
act, in turn, either as a church, or in concert with every other Chris- 
tian and every other church, in any way and in all ways that may 
effect the object proposed. Individual and united action, whether 
that united action be said to be by churches or individuals, are both 
alike duty, from which no one individual, however feeble or poor, may 
for a moment hope to be exempted. "Would to God that the three 
hundred thousand individual Baptist Christians of the Northern states 
would all ponder well their individual and united obligations to Christ 
and a world sinking to hell, and, all acting in concert through that 
glorious ' American Baptist Missionary Union, , send out men chosen 
of God, who should go into all the world, and preach the gospel to 
every creature ! 

" The above train of thought was suggested in view of the fact, 
that we had superinduced upon the Karen churches, organized after 
the pattern of the New Testament, a ' society ' composed of individu- 
als from all these churches, whose object it is to enlighten the world. 
"We not only believe that every individual shall give an account of 
himself, but we believe also that ' Union is strength,' — that, if the 
united action of all the people of God may accomplish a great and 
good object, which individual action cannot accomplish, then united 
action is a duty binding upon every child of God. Hence our Karen 
Home Mission Society. It is, of course, but an infant, yet of fair pro- 
portions and cheering promise. 

" Three missionaries are appointed, and are to be supported for the 
year 1S51, wholly by the native Christians. The society is under the 
direction of the Karens themselves, — its secretary, treasurer, and 
committees, all Karens. Of course the missionary will keep in sight 
to advise, impel, or restrain, as need may be. The American Baptist 
Missionary Union is the parent and patron of the society, and may be 



LAST YEAR'S WORK IN SAN DOW AY. 169 

a contributor. We trust it may yet rejoice over the triumphs achieved 
by its own offspring. It is our expectation that the support of all the 
preachers who require aid, the supply of poor churches, and the send- 
ing of missionaries to regions beyond, — indeed, all the operations of 
the ' home department ' — will be conducted by this society. The Ka- 
rens, and, indeed, all converts from heathenism in our missions, con- 
tribute liberally to objects of special interest, — more liberally than 
Christians, as a whole, in America. It is not so easy, however, for 
these converts to feel it a duty to support their own pastors and the 
interests of their own churches, — a duty to be performed year after 
year, with none of the peculiar satisfaction which attends the offering 
of their substance to the Lord on special occasions and directly to the 
missionary. Their liberality should be enlightened, lest it be viti- 
ated by the old superstition, that offerings must be made to the gods, 
that is, to the pagodas and priests, no matter to what purpose the offer- 
ings might finally be devoted, whether they go to the fire, to dogs, or 
to scoundrels ; only make offerings and secure merit. To enlighten the 
people at this point, and direct their contributions into legitimate 
channels, demands, in my estimation, the earnest and prompt atten- 
tion of the missionary. All the preachers manifested an interest in 
the formation of the society. Many of them had the contributions of 
their churches in hand, and were inquiring of us what to do with 
them. Now they have an object to which their offerings may be 
legitimately devoted. More than that, a new door of hope is thus 
opened to their countrymen, who still sit in darkness and the shadow 
of death. A resolve was made unanimously to pursue the great work 
of home missions until 'every Karen family shall have seen the light 
of God.' 

" There is a division in one of the largest churches, which once 
numbered two hundred and seventy-six members. It will probably 
destroy the church. Indeed, their large and beautiful chapel is de- 
serted and going to decay, the two parties going each a different way. 
They will be gathered again, we hope, in other churches. 

" There have been but few cases of apostasy or discipline. In this 
respect, we have reason for rejoicing and gratitude. The principal 
source of anxiety, in my own mind, is, a defect of energy, of efficiency, 
of enterprise, in our preachers. Perhaps, bringing with us the senti- 
ments and the spirit characteristic of America, we expect too much 
of them. Perhaps we do not make sufficient allowance for the fact 
that they have just emerged from the lowest depths of social degra- 



170 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

dation, of ignorance, indolence, and filth. As to the moral and reli- 
gious character and influence, not only of the preachers, but of the 
Karen Christians as a whole, they are certainly exhibiting to the world 
a powerful testimony in favor of truth and righteousness. There is 
also improvement ; so that, on the whole, we have abundant reason to 
magnify the riches of God's grace, and take courage. 

" I could have wished to remain longer at Ong Khyoung with the 
preachers. I would desire no happier life than to live and die among 
those beloved men. They have shared in my sympathies and toils, as 
they have been my companions for years. Their filthy and indolent 
habits did try my patience, but their marked improvement has awak- 
ened my joy. For their well-being I have experienced a depth of 
watchful solicitude which no mortal can ever appreciate. They have 
won my confidence and love. To them the strength of my best days 
has been devoted. The Lord bless them, and make them faithful, 
beloved pastors, and successful heralds of salvation." 

It was not thought prudent for Mr. Abbott to remain in the 
jungle beyond the few days necessary for the meetings. He 
says, — 

" To be unable to pursue my labors longer among the preachers 
and churches at this time causes regret. It is the less, however, as 
Mr. and Mrs. Beecher are there. . . . Whether my intended trip to 
Maulmain and a few months sojourn there will afford me any perma- 
nent relief is perhaps doubtful. As I hope to be near the Press, and 
able to write a little, perhaps my time will not be entirely lost." 

Writing from Dr. Stevens's house in Maulmain, Feb. 20, he 

says, — 

" I have been here a few days, and am intending to spend the rainy 
season with Brother Mason at Tavoy. . . . No bleeding from the 
throat since the violent hemorrhage three w r eeks since. Hope a season 
on this coast may be useful. . . . We are discussing important sub- 
jects here, and the future brightens. I have strong hope that a re- 
form will be effected in some departments. We are all on the most 
cordial terms, — perfect friendliness and confidence. Thanks to God 
for that ! " 

To return to Sandoway : Mr. Beecher writes, March 14, aa 
follows : — 



LAST YEAR'S WORK IN SAN DO WAY. 171 

" After the meetings and ordination at Ong Khyoung, I remained 
there nearly four weeks, instructing a class of thirty preachers. They 
were occupied chiefly in the study of Galatians. An exposition was 
also given them of the more difficult portions of James and the First 
Epistle of Peter. Ten school-teachers and boys were instructed in 
arithmetic by an assistant. A few evenings were occupied with lec- 
tures on astronomy, in which all seemed interested, the people of the 
village also attending in good numbers. 

" While with the preachers, the letters of the churches read at the 
association were carefully reviewed, and the cases of discipline men- 
tioned were examined. A table of statistics was also made out from 
them, by which it appears that thirty churches have contributed to 
the support of their pastors, on an average, twelve rupees and seventy 
baskets of paddy each, besides other articles. Moreover, they have 
contributed about fifty rupees towards the support of two or more 
itinerants among the heathen. In order to increase this fund, and to 
complete the arrangements for this new enterprise, the preachers have 
appointed a meeting to be held in Burma the first of this mouth. 

" Only twenty-six of the Sgau preachers have been aided this year 
by the mission ; and they have received, on an average, only twelve 
rupees each. This, with what they receive from their churches, and 
what they can do for themselves, without diminishing their usefulness 
as pastors, will render them as comfortable as the majority of their 
people, and that is all that is desirable. Among other good results of 
their depending on the churches for support, is that of stimulating 
both pastors and people to build up large and permanent villages. 
Pastors, too, are more anxious to gain the favor and confidence of 
the people, and the people are more interested in their pastors. The 
pastors and churches have yet many things to learn before they will 
fully understand their mutual duties ; and errors, the result of igno- 
rance, already appear, which, without careful correction, will work 
mischief. But we are encouraged by their readiness to listen to 
instruction, and yield to the wishes of the missionaries, to hope that 
the system of ministerial support which has been established among 
them will, in due time, be attended with all the advantages here that 
attend it in America. 

" While with the assistants, the disorderly conduct of one of their 
number, Too Oo, 1 was brought to my notice. His case was carefully 

1 The same who afterwards became a pervert to Roman Catholicism. 
See p. 104. 



172 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

examined before all the assistants. He was charged with abusive 
treatment of his wife. He frankly confessed that he had frequently 
beaten her when angry, and acknowledged that he was easily irri- 
tated, and his temper ungoverned. He had often been entreated and 
rebuked by his brethren, with all longsuffering and forbearance ; had 
as often promised repentance and reformation, but had returned and 
done the same things. The assistants heard with patience all that 
he had to say but when the question was put, whether they would 
fellowship him as a preacher, not a word was said or a hand raised in 
his favor. This act of discipline, though done in my presence, was 
none the less their act ; and though it was deeply painful to us all, to 
have one who lias been for years laboring as a preacher thus silenced, 
still the determination to preserve a high standard of moral purity 
in the ministry, which the assistants have manifested on this and 
other occasions, is bright with promise for the future character of the 
churches. The preachers were dismissed, Jan. 8, and the rest of the 
time at my disposal was spent in visiting the churches on this coast. 

" Were it consistent with faithfulness to present only the bright 
side in our missionary reports, I would gladly speak only of the 
churches at Thehrau and Great Plains. But, in the primitive church, 
those who made the mission reports were not silent respecting the 
errors of the converts. The church at Ong Khyoung has suffered 
from the change of pastors in 1847. Tway Po, who had gathered the 
church, left at that time to build up a new interest at Thehrau. His 
successor, Myat Kyau, is a better preacher than pastor. The church 
is not united or cordial in supporting him. Their love for each other, 
for their teacher, and for Christ has grown cold, while their love of 
money and the world has increased. A few, however, are faithful, 
and we hope that another contemplated change of pastors will tend 
to produce a favorable change in the people. 

" The church at Khyoungthah is a feeble band. Their pastor, 
Shway Meh, lacks energy, and needs additional instruction to prepare 
him for efficient work. But he appears anxious to improve, and we 
hope he will be able to study with us during the coming rains. The 
church appear willing to aid him according to their ability. 

" Bogalo, pastor at Sinmah, is dissatisfied with the fruit of his 
labors there, and goes to build up a new interest near Buffalo. The 
church seem to regret his leaving them, and would aid in supporting 
him as far as they can ; but he will not remain. The church at Buf- 
falo have built a neat and durable chapel, and are gradually increas- 



LAST FEAR'S WORK IN SAN DOW AY. 173 

ing in numbers and strength, though they are still few and feeble. 
They find it difficult to obtain sufficient food and clothing for their 
own families, but promise to contribute five rupees towards the sup- 
port of their pastor. 

'•Weeks before we arrived at Great Plains, we had heard with 
deep sorrow of the death of Wah Dee, the beloved pastor, while on a 
preaching tour in Burma. His elder brother had been from the first 
the head man of the village and the main pillar of the church, which 
had been gathered and called from Burma, chiefly through his in- 
fluence. He had given freely, and labored hard to erect an elegant 
and substantial chapel. We had heard the old man relate the history 
of the church, and wept with him as he recounted his toils, his trials, 
and bereavements. One hundred families had followed him from 
Burma nine years since. Some were disheartened and returned ; 
some had gone to other villages ; his wife had been taken from him ; 
and now Wah Dee, his pride, his chief joy and hope, had been sud- 
denly removed. Stroke after stroke had fallen upon the head of the 
worthy patriarch ; and he showed how near he w r as to being heart- 
broken at the last blow by his often assuring us with tears and sobs, 
' My heart is not yet destroyed.' We found, on arriving, that the old 
man was still as untiring in his labors as though he believed the life 
of the church and the prosperity of the village depended upon his 
efforts. In season and out of season he was the counsellor of the 
young, the friend of the poor, the comforter of the afflicted, a bright 
example of that faith which works by love. 

"But the village ! They had told us nothing about this. Many 
came to the river to greet us, and, during our long walk to the village, 
talked to us of their lamented pastor, of their fears on account of 
robbers, and their troubles with the Burman tax-gatherer ; and we 
thought of little except the words of comfort and encouragement we 
should speak to them. We had a faint recollection of the scattered 
and shabby houses which composed the village three years before. 
We had heard of changes, but were expecting to see little beyond an 
ordinary Karen village. But never were we so agreeably surprised 
as when we stood in front of the late pastor's dwelling and looked at 
the new village. The carefully built houses standing in rows; the 
ground under and around them free from rubbish, as if often swept ; 
the well-cultivated plots of vegetables ; the street, wide and straight, 
and neatly bordered with fruit-trees and flowers, — altogether formed 
a pleasing picture. 



174 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

" We were fast forgetting the sad thoughts that had filled our 
minds, and were expressing our pleasure at the neatness and pros- 
perity of the village, praising also the industry and good taste of the 
villagers, when one and another, the old head man among the fore- 
most, came near, and said, ' It was all done by Wah Dee,' ' It was 
all planned and directed by Wah Dee,' 'Wah Dee, though dead, has 
become a sweet-smelling savor.' Nor did the village lose any of its 
charms during a stay of three weeks. We found the people intelli- 
gent, industrious, and anxious for instruction. At first our mornings 
and evenings were wholly occupied with visiting twelve or fifteen sick 
persons, all but two of whom, by the blessing of God, soon recovered. 

" The death of one of these served to exhibit in a painful degree 
the ignorance and superstition that still darken the minds of some 
Christians, even in our more intelligent villages. A bereaved father 
came to us just as we were leaving, and with a sorrowful face en- 
treated us to pray for his daughter, who had died a few days before. 
We were the more shocked, because that subject had often been re- 
marked upon during our stay, and once when he was present. How 
hard and slow the process of thorough conversion from heathenism ! 
The majority of the church showed at the covenant-meeting a degree 
of intelligence and spirituality that much exceeded our expectations. 
Their afflictions seem to have been sanctified to their growth in grace. 

" Soon after our arrival, a school of thirty-five interesting children 
was gathered, and taught by one of our Sandoway pupils. The at- 
tendance was good while we staid ; but it was expected that when we 
left the older pupils would be needed to aid their parents. It was 
decided, in accordance with the wishes of the church, that the son of 
the deceased pastor, a promising young man [Shway Au], should take 
the place left by his father, as soon as he should be prepared by age 
and study. His uncle, in the mean time, will continue to conduct 
worship, and watch over the church, as he has done since Wah Dee's 
death. We bade the people farewell, wishing that it were practicable 
to make their village our home. 

" A day and a night's sail towards home brought us to Thehrau, 
where the Christians have literally caused 'the wilderness and the 
solitary place ' to be ' glad for them.' Four years ago the place was 
a dense wilderness; but the rice-field has appeared instead of the 
jungle ; the habitations of men are now seen where were then only 
the haunts of wild beasts. Christians now walk in company to the 
house of God, where, a few years since, roamed the wild elephant ; and 



LAST YEAR'S WORK IN SAN DOW AT. 175 

the voice of prayer and praise is heard where the moaning of the 
forest was only broken by the yell of the tiger and the barking of 
the deer. This people have shown much spirit and enterprise in 
building up their village, and are making pleasing advances in civil- 
ization as well as in Christianity. 

" Their pastor, Tway Po, to whom the praise is chiefly due, has so 
often been mentioned that you must begin to feel acquainted with 
him. He has everywhere the same dignified yet winning manner, 
but needs to be seen in his own village and in his own family to be 
perfectly known and appreciated. No native preacher has a stronger 
or better influence abroad, and none is more beloved and respected at 
home. Even the worshippers of nats and idols, who will not believe 
the doctrine he preaches, look to him for counsel in trouble. We had 
often been amused to see how much more at home he appeared than 
the other assistants, when sitting in our chairs. When we saw him 
in his own house, we understood the reason. His whole house was 
well built; but his room, which is used also as a conference-room, ap- 
proached the civilized standard more nearly than any thing we had 
before seen among natives. The floor, rafters, steps, and door-frames 
were of sawn plank. The room was furnished with two tables, two or 
three chairs, and a couch with turned legs. Upon the tables were a 
small variety of books, in Karen and Burmese, also papers and pam- 
phlets, all arranged with care. But what gave a charm to the whole 
was that the furniture was of his own manufacture. As we passed 
by or entered this room from day to day, and saw Tway Po — Rev. 
Tway Po, we should say, for no minister was ever more worthy of the 
title than he — sitting by his table, reading and studying, or convers- 
ing with those who sought his advice, we often wished that our breth- 
ren who feel such an interest in this people could see him, looking so 
much like an American pastor in his study. Let the prayers of Chris- 
tians ascend to the great Head of the church, that he will raise up 
from among this people many Tway Pos." 

The Van Meters spent two months in the jungle this year. 
Mr. Van Meter reports the membership of the Pwo churches as 
increasing somewhat. 

" One of the little bands [Shway Bo's] has been scattered and 
peeled by the iniquitous misgovernment of the land. The congre- 
gation has been reduced from one hundred to thirty. Still they are 



176 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

not lost. As regards the support of Pwo assistants, all are necessarily 
dependent on us for more or less aid. The few Pwo churches are 
still feeble, and not far enough advanced in the knowledge of their 
obligation to fulfil this work, had they even the ability. . . . Two of 
the churches have supplied their preachers with nearly one hundred 
baskets of rice, together with fish, tobacco, and a little money. All 
the assistants are in the habit of working a part of the time for their 
own support." 

After the interesting meetings at Ong Khyoung, Mr. Van 
Meter went two days farther down the coast, to Buffalo, where 
he had a class of ten Pwo students and assistants for five 
weeks. The Sgau Christians built them a good house, he says, 
and they worked hard, mostly on the Book of Acts, and Old- 
Testament history. He tells of a curious incident that occurred 
at Sinmah. One of the assistants took him aside, and gravely 
informed him that the villagers intended to become Christians 
to a man, provided Mr. Van Meter would induce the govern- 
ment to deliver them from an oppressive tax-gatherer. 

The principal event of the season was the ordination of the 
first Pwo Karen pastor, Shway Bo, at Buffalo. He still lives, 
a useful man, respected by his own people and the missionaries. 
Pie is the father of Moung Edwin, who is known somewhat 
widely in the United States. Mr. Van Meter says of the candi- 
date at that time, " He is 3-oung, but no novice, and exhibits a 
[good] degree of knowledge, tact, independence, and maturity 
of character. . . . He has enjoyed the advantage of a system- 
atic course of study at Maulmain." At the ordination Mr. 
Beecher preached the sermon, Mr. Van Meter gave the charge, 
Tway Po offered the ordaining prayer, and addressed the con- 
gregation, and Myat Kyau gave the hand of fellowship. Mr. 
Beecher writes again, June 10, of the first meeting of a native 
missionaiy society on Burman soil, of the opening of school, 
and other matters : — 

" Since I last wrote, young men and boys have come from various 
parts of Burma, and from this coast, to attend our school. They 
brought letters from many of the pastors, and verbal reports from 



LAST YEAR'S WORK IN SANDOWAY. 177 

others, from which we learn that the churches are steadfast, and 
many of them growing in numbers and in grace. Mau Yay, since his 
ordination last December, has baptized ninety-seven in Bassein. 

"The convention for completing the organization of the Home 
Mission Society was held near Bassein, in accordance with the ap- 
pointment made at the association. A good number of the preachers 
were present : more would have attended, did not the jealousy of the 
Burmese render large assemblies of Karens unadvisable. Contribu- 
tions were sent in from nearly all the churches, amounting to over 
a hundred rupees. This was divided between a Pwo and a Sgau 
preacher, who are to labor exclusively among the heathen of their re- 
spective tribes. About fifty rupees had been previously raised, which 
is to be appropriated to the support of another missionary already 
appointed, but detained from his work by sickness in his family. 

"These churches have, from the first, been accustomed to make 
annual contributions to the mission ; but this is the first time that the 
funds have been devoted particularly to this object, or that the re- 
sponsibility of expending the funds has been thrown upon themselves. 
This first effort is comparatively small, but it promises to grow and 
wax great. (The fact 1 that this convention of native preachers [in 
the absence of a missionary] have decided to give, and two of their 
number have accepted as their entire support, fifty rupees a year, is 
worthy of consideration. They are here expending their own money, 
or money from their own churches. They will not be likely to give 
their missionaries more than is necessary, nor will the missionaries be 
likely to accept less than they actually need for support ; so that we 
could not find better qualified judges of the amount necessary for the 
support of native preachers than these men on this occasion. . . . 
But to convince the brethren of other stations that five rupees a 
month even is sufficient — Ilic labor, hoc opus est .') 

"Since we returned from the jungle, nearly eighty families of 
Christians have emigrated from Burma to this coast, being driven out 
by the exactions which the king is making to carry on war with the 
Shans. This will increase our jungle-work next year, and will make 
it more impracticable than heretofore to attempt a school for preach- 
ers in the cold season. We have a boarding-school of twenty-four 
pupils." 



1 The sentences enclosed in parentheses are restored from Mr. Beecher :» 
original letter. They were omitted in the Missionary Magazine. 



178 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

Mr. Abbott arrived in Tavoy, March 27. He spent several 
weeks at Monrnogan, by the sea, with some advantage to his 
health. From that place he sent an interesting account of 
Mrs. Abbott's labors for the Burmans of Sandoway. It be- 
longs to this narrative of the doings of the Bassein Karen 
mission ; and perhaps no better place can be found for it than 
just here, at the point where the still sorrowing husband wrote 
it, as a just tribute to the memory of that devoted wife, and 
no less devoted missionary, Ann P. (Gardner) Abbott. 

"When I arrived at Sandoway in 1840, I could not use Burmese 
with any fluency, and did not attempt to preach to the Burmans at all, 
though we were surrounded by a Burman population, with no one to 
preach to them. I had enough to do for the Karens, and could not 
think of preparing myself to preach in Burmese. 

"Mrs. Abbott had studied Burmese intensely: she had mastered 
it, and spoke it with remarkable fluency and correctness. Our house 
stood out of town by the wayside. In front there was a large ve- 
randa, that passers-by were accustomed to enter, either to seek rest 
and shelter from a burning sun or from the rain in its season, or 
attracted by curiosity to see the foreigners and their children. That 
veranda was Mrs. Abbott's chapel. There she used to take her seat, 
with a bundle of tracts and the Scriptures, which she would read and 
explain to all that would listen. Occasionally a large group would 
sit in silence for hours, held there by the influence which Mrs. Abbott 
exerted over them by her presence and the perfect manner in which 
she spoke their language. Her command of Burmese was a passport 
to their hearts ; and well did the meek preacher know how to avail 
herself of it to secure an introduction for that gospel which bringeth 
life and immortality to light. 

" Another means of usefulness was in ministering to the sick and 
afflicted. The mcnna's fame for goodness and skill spread to all the 
villages round about; and the lame, the halt, and the blind were 
brought in to receive medical aid. Did a child tread upon a coal and 
burn its foot, it was sure to be brought by its mother to the mama for 
help. Many children of the land are afflicted with sores, arising, no 
doubt, from their habits of life. Such cases were attended to at once, 
their sores or wounds washed and bandaged, and directions given 
how to take care of them. And, when all was done, the poor creatures 



LAST YEAR'S WORK IN SAN DOW AY. 179 

would sit down on the mat at her feet, and listen to the reading of 
a tract, or to words of wisdom and truth. Thus Mrs. Abbott, like 
other women in our missions, exerted an influence over heathen 
women as nearly divine as any thing we can conceive of in this fallen 
world. 

" For five years she thus pursued her way, amidst domestic cares 
and sorrows, in weakness and affliction, ever ready to divide her so- 
licitude between her own feeble infants and the heathen women who 
might gather around her door. With a fidelity and meekness seldom 
surpassed, and never ostentatiously displayed, she discharged the 
daily obligations of life ; and with a faith that never wavered she 
bore the burdens which her missionary life imposed. All the labor in 
the Burmese department she performed : all its responsibility devolved 
on her, and well did she sustain it. Although subjected to trials 
peculiar to herself and to her position, known only to ourselves, she 
labored for the welfare of the heathen with a constancy untiring, ever 
exhibiting a Christian magnanimity as she walked on in the pathway 
of life. She fulfilled her mission of suffering, of toil, and of holy 
influence, till she sunk suddenly, but gently, into the grave. 

" She died in the evening. During the night the news had reached 
a few villages near, and in the morning it spread ; so that, early in the 
day, groups of women from the town and the surrounding country 
came flocking in to get a last glimpse of the mama before she was hid 
away in the tomb. Some undoubtedly came from curiosity. A for- 
eign lady had died : it was a strange thing in the land. Many came 
with a spirit of mourning. Mrs. Abbott was a woman capable of 
making an impression upon minds, of exerting an influence that 
should be long felt. Such an influence she had affectionately exer- 
cised over those women. Many of them deeply lamented her death. 
They would stand around her lifeless form, and express their grief 
and affection. They would speak of the sacrifice she made in coming 
to their country, and of her goodness and kindness to them. Then 
they would bewail her death, a mother's death, and, turning to her 
motherless babes, would give vent to their tears. To this day they 
remember her, and her praise is still on their lips. 

"The native officers of the place came, and proposed to make a 
large gilded coffin, and to carry her to the grave with pomp and 
parade. Not that they intended any religious ceremony, or any com- 
pliance on our part with their ideas of things: it was simply the 
prompting of respect and good will. But it was not congenial to my 



180 BASSE IX KAREN MISSION. 

spirit to have so much noise and display. We buried her at evening. 
The people had all gone to their homes, except the few native Chris- 
tians and two English gentlemen. We laid her in the new-made 
grave, and she slept with her infants already there. How sweet the 
slumbers of the grave ! There she rests from her labors, and her 
works do follow her : yea, the people rise up and call her memory 
blessed. A plain monument is erected over the spot ; and a marble 
slab simply tells the stranger that it is 'the grave of Mrs. Abbott.' 

" The first convert from the Burmans was Ivo Bike, a man ad- 
vanced in life, and, for a Burman, a grave, moral character. He had 
visited our veranda, and had heard from Mrs. Abbott truths which 
made him wise unto salvation. After a time he asked for baptism, 
and in 1843 was baptized by Brother Stilson. Since that time, he 
has uniformly maintained an exemplary Christian life. He was cast 
out and abused by all his acquaintance and neighbors, and, worse than 
all, by his own wife and family. He suffered provocation from his 
wife, adapted, / should think, to arouse the spirit of a man. But 
through it all Ko Bike maintained his integrity. I have seen the 
good old man weep like an infant when speaking of this : all else he 
could bear with composure. And he finally triumphed. All his 
family are either Christians, or friendly to the truth. When I re- 
turned from America, I found Ko Bike the same, and he has main- 
tained a good profession till the present time. 1 He talks to the 
people a good deal, and distributes tracts, and, although not a great 
preacher, his piety aud personal worth give him a good influence over 
the people. 

" The nest convert was a priest. He, too, was first attracted by curi- 
osity, — a white woman could speak his own language well. It was a 
great condescension in a Boodhist priest to go at all into a house where 
there was a woman ; a greater, to sit down in her presence, especially 
for lam to sit on a mat upon the floor, and the icoman in a chair above 
him ; greater still, to listen to a woman's reading or instructions. 
But the priest did sit down at the feet of the woman, and listen to 
her words long and attentively. He came occasionally for months, 



1 It was not this man, but a Karen of the same name, living in Maul- 
main, I believe, who regarded himself as " ordained to make up deficien- 
cies." This Ko Bike afterwards removed to the compound of the Burman 
mission in Bassein, where he died, trusting in Christ, in extreme old age, 
about the year 18G9. 



LAST YEAR'S WORK IN SAN DO WAY. 181 

and Mrs. Abbott cherished a hope that he was earnestly seeking the 
way of life. At length he disappeared. For a long time we heard 
nothing of him, till at last word came from his monastery that he was 
dead. It appeared that his fellow-priests had become alarmed at 
his frequent visits to our veranda, and had persecuted him; and that, 
while he was ill, they had tried to force him into the observance of 
heathen ceremonies. We heard, also, that to the last he refused to 
comply. A mystery hangs over his last days, as we could learn 
nothing except what came through the priests. From all we could 
gather, we indulged a hope that he died a Christian. 

" Ko Bike's son also embraced the gospel in those days. His case 
was not perfectly satisfactory, but so much so as to justify his bap- 
tism. . . . The wife of Ko Bike had begun to bend before I left for 
America ; so much so, that she would come to the house and see Mrs. 
Abbott. She had not sehed (to abuse with words, which means a 
good deal among Burmans) her husband for some time. She would 
allow him to pray in the house in peace. Had not for a long time 
dragged him about the floor by the hair of his head, and had not even 
run away from him recently. When I returned from America, she 
was still more like a Christian, and has since, on the whole, exhibited 
a good temper, although she occasionally lets the people about her 
know that she still has a spirit of her own. She does not, however, 
exhibit the violence of former days, and in no case the vileness. She 
is a changed woman, and regular in her religious course ; has been 
asking for baptism, and, I presume, will be baptized during the season. 
Ko Bike's children and grandchildren are being trained up under 
Christian influence, and from his good example his neighbors are 
learning the way of life. He has achieved a noble victory, and is 
mightier than he that taketh a city. 

" There are two other Burman members in the little church, — an 
old man named Shway Eing, and his daughter, who came over from 
Burma. This daughter was left motherless when an infant, and her 
father gave her to a Karen Christian woman to nurse. Of course the 
infant was nurtured in the ' admonition of the Lord,' and, when quite 
young, was baptized by a Kai*en pastor. Ko Bike's son heard of this 
girl, — a Burmese and a baptized Christian. He went over and 
sought her hand, married her, and brought her to Sandoway with her 
old father. He had renounced Boodhism thirteen years before, under 
the influence of ' the young chief ' of those days, who had just escaped 
from prison at Rangoon. The old man remained a nominal Christian 



182 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

till he came to Sandoway, not fully settled as to the doctrines of the 
gospel. He revealed to me all his doubts, which I endeavored to 
remove ; and during the whole season, whenever I said any thing [in 
the chapel], it was in Burmese, for the benefit of that old man, and 
Ko Bike and the other Burmans. Shway Eing apprehended the 
truths of the gospel with remarkable clearness, and began to declare 
them to his countrymen, though at first rather timidly. Still he was 
not very urgent for baptism, and I allowed him to take his own 
course. He was finally baptized by Brother Beecher. He preaches 
well, and promises to be an efficient laborer. His influence over the 
heathen is excellent, and under his teachings quite a number are con- 
sidered good inquirers. 

" Thus you will see we have a small Burman church at Sandoway, 
a nucleus around which, we trust, will yet be gathered a great com- 
pany of believers. The gospel is preached there, truth is communi- 
cated to the people, and we now need nothing so much as the Spirit 
from on high. Our brethren and sisters there are studviner Burmese, 
that they may be able to labor for the people around them. They all 
must be there from March to November of each year, and, if they 
have health and will, can do much for the Burmans without impeding 
their Karen work." 

There is some confusion and conflict of plans about this time 
in the Karen department. Mr. Abbott, still eager to get into 
Burma Proper, to be nearer his converts, was proposing iu March 
to go soon to his old station, Rangoon, hoping even that 
he might be able ultimately to reach Bassein from that point. 
Mr. Vinton did not favor the plan. In August the Maulmain 
Karen mission, in view of Dr. Binney's return to America, and 
of Mr. Vinton's desire to remove to Rangoon, proposed formally 
that Mr. Beecher come to Maulmain and take charge of the 
theological school, until some one should be sent out from 
home for that w r ork, or that the school be temporarily transferred 
to Sandoivay. This vote, however, was rescinded a month or 
two later, and Mr. Beecher, who had already reached Akyab 
on his way to Maulmain, returned to his station. But the stir- 
ring events of the next year were to increase the confusion, and 



LAST YEAR'S WORK IN SANDOWAY. 183 

suspend temporarily all plans for the upbuilding of Christ's 
kingdom in Burma Proper. 

" I will overturn, overturn, overturn it: and it shall be no 
more, until he come whose right it is; and I will give it him." 
— Ezek. xxi. 27. 



CHAPTER X. 

1852. 

"The nation and kingdom that will not serve thee shall perish: yea, 
those nations shall be utterly wasted." —Isaiah. 

In the Magazine for March of this year, we find a glowing 
account of the Bassein Christians from the pen of Dr. Kincaid. 
He had sent Burman assistants with letters and books to visit 
the disciples in that region. Some of the Christians returned 
with the messengers, and they had a united Karen and Burman 
service in the mission-house at Rangoon, of which the warm- 
hearted doctor writes, " The sweetness and harmony of Karen 
voices in singing, especially in their own language, exceed any 
thing I ever heard. It is like what one imagines the music of 
heaven to be." 

The assistants reported one church with which they spent the 
Lord's Day, they preaching twice in Burmese, and the pastor 
once in Karen. "The church numbered nearly four hundred. 
Their chapel is forty cubits square, well built, and surrounded 
by a neatly-kept plot of ground. Near it stands a schoolhouse, 
twenty-six by twenty-eight cubits. A large number of the 
members came together when the messengers arrived ; and 
when they saw the books and letters, and were assured of being 
remembered, they were affected to tears, and some wept aloud 
for joy. I received a letter from the pastor of this church 
[Mau Yay of Kyootoo?— Ed.], and will give you an ex- 
tract : — 

"'May the grace and fellowship of the Father, Son, and Holy Ghost, 
be with you ! with my love, and the love of all the sons and daugh- 
184 



WAR. — BASSEIN OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT'S ADIEU. 183 

ters of God in this church. I am one of the least of all the disciples, 
and know but little of God's word. Divine grace has made me a 
teacher of the gospel, and by the sacred imposition of hands I am 
made a pastor. Daily I study the Bible, and pray for a larger meas- 
ure of the Holy Spirit, so as to teach and guide this flock of little 
ones. I have but little knowledge, and can teach only what I know. 
I, the pastor, and all the church, rejoiced greatly when we heard that 
you had come into this Burman kingdom, and we cease not to pray 
for you. Our Father who is in heaven will hear our prayers. We 
all desire greatly to see you, and to hear more fully the deep things of 
God, that we may grow and be established in every virtue.' 

" Among the letters received is one from a Burman who has been 
taught the way of life, and baptized by a Karen pastor. The letter is 
imbued with Christian sentiment, and breathes the spirit of one re- 
deemed unto God ; and yet the writer has never seen a missionary. 
. . . The word of God is making a deep impression on many Bur- 
mans in the neighborhood of Karen churches. The two Burman 
assistants I sent out were much gratified to find so many of their 
countrymen favorably affected by what they saw and heard among 
the Karens. This is most encouraging. As the Karen churches 
become mature in Christian knowledge, a mighty moral influence will 
go forth, lifting the cloud of darkness from the worshippers of Gauda- 
ma. Already an army of ten thousand stand up on the side of God, 
clothed in the Christian armor. Their strong, simple faith gives to 
their whole character a dignity and grandeur which compel the 
heathen to take knowledge of them, that they are divinely taught. 1 
About forty of them have come, within twenty days past, for books 
and advice, several of them coming over a hundred and fifty miles, 
through districts infested with robbers, and amidst almost incessant 
storms. I feel ashamed and am rebuked when I look on this people, 



1 If the hopes expressed by Dr. Kincaid, and shared equally by many 
Burman and Karen missionaries, have failed of fulfilment, as we are con- 
strained to admit that they have for the most part, we suggest, as the only 
adequate explanation, the twofold fact that American Baptists have not 
extended the aid which was essential to a thorough Christian education of 
this people, and, on the other hand, this help failing them, the Karens 
themselves have settled down into half-helpless contentment with igno- 
rance, or the barest modicum of knowledge, too often, it may be, prefer- 
ring a shadow to the scarcely proffered substance. How long before the 
grave defects in our system shall be remedied ? 



186 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

braving danger, and suffering privations and hardships, to procure 
portions of God's word. . . . 

" One other fact among many. Two young Karens from Pantanau 
were sent here by their pastor to bring letters, and get a few books. 
Ten New Testaments, a ' Pilgrim's Progress,' seven tracts, and two 
hymn-books were wanted. They remained two days, and then set 
out on their long journey back. The books were carefully rolled up, 
and put in the bottom of a basket, and then the basket was filled with 
rice and dried fish. This done, they gave the parting hand, and in a 
tremulous voice said to each of us, ' Pray for us, that we may not fall 
into the hands of officers with these books.' Two Christian boys, 
sixteen or seventeen years old, trusting in God, make a journey of a 
hundred and thirty miles to get this handful of books. Here is faith 
that will remove mountains." 

Dr. Dawson also (same volume, p. 98) gives Burman testi- 
mony to the excellent deportment of the Karen Christians. Rev. 
Dr. Stevens says (Ibid., p. 20) that Burman priests " from the 
region of Bassein have borne honorable testimony to the Chris- 
tian character of Karens in that province." He gives an inter- 
esting incident related by one of the Bassein priests, which 
well illustrates Karen and Burman character. "Before he 
became a priest, a Karen chanced to come along one day, 
while he was reading aloud Mr. Comstock's ' Way to Heaven.' 
After listening attentively for a while, he begged him to go to 
his village, saying that the Karens there would like much to 
hear that book. ... On reaching the man's house, the whole 
village came together, and he read to them. They listened 
with deep attention till he came to a passage where Jesus 
Christ is spoken of as dying on the cross for sinners. Here, 
he said, they began to iveep, and the tears trickled down their 
cheeks. They were not satisfied with a single hearing. They 
urged him to repeat his visits, which he did, going from place 
to place among them, reading that book, and receiving a num- 
ber of presents for his pains. Here, thought I, is Brother 
Comstock speaking, though dead, and preaching to Karens by 
means of an idolatrous Burman. The priest showed no marks 
of a salutary impression made on his own heart by the reading 



WAR. — BASSEIN OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT'S ADIEU. 187 

of the tract, although he was evidently familiar with its contents. 
Nor does it appear that he was actuated by any other motive 
than that of ' making a gain ' of them. But, ' whether in pre- 
tence or in truth, Christ is preached ; and therein we do rejoice, 
yea, and will rejoice.' " 

Six months before the second war began, Dr. Kincaid writes 
again : — 

"I feel ashamed when I look on this people, so full of faith and 
steadfastness, so certain that the day of deliverance is at hand, and 
that the empire of darkness will be overturned. The seal of God is 
on them. . . . While the Bui-mans are groping their way amidst the 
darkness of pantheism, and are toiling under the weight of a supersti- 
tion more degrading than popery, the Karens are inquiring for God's 
book ; and the God of the Bible is their refuge." 

The time has now come when the faith of these simple- 
hearted disciples is to receive a rich reward ; but they must 
first pass through a period of sharpest trial. Some hundreds, 
under the lead of Englishmen, must take up arms in defence 
of then- homes, and to gain that sweet liberty which they have 
never known. Some must die a soldier's death, and others 
win a martyr's crown. The cruel and haughty governor of 
Rangoon has again threatened to shoot every Karen found with 
a Christian book in his possession (E. L. Abbott, Nov. 23, 
1851). He has treated hundreds of British subjects with the 
grossest injustice and cruelty. Many have been stripped of their 
property. A few have died under Burman torture. British 
ships have been illegally detained, and their captains treated 
with outrage. At last a deputation of four British officers from 
the commodore has been insulted at mid-day, before throngs 
of barbarians, at the governor's residence. The measure of 
Burmese cruelty, oppression, and insolence, is again full to 
overflowing. After years of forbearance, the English Trading 
Company under Lord Dalhousie will again strike, and strike so 
hard as to roll the tyrant's frontier up stream, full three hundred 
miles from the sea. Thus God works out the deliverance of his 
people. 



188 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

Meanwhile, Messrs. Beecher and Van Meter at Sandoway 
were doing what they could, at such a time, to carry on the 
regular work of the mission. The Beechers, in attempting to 
reach Thehrau, — the place appointed for the association this 
year, — were driven out to sea in an open canoe with no keel. 
Their lives were in peril for some hours, and the main object 
of their voyage was defeated. Mr. Van Meter started a little 
earlier, and arrived at his destination just as the storm reached 
its height. The meeting, though marred by the absence of the 
Sgau missionaries, was of great interest. After a week's con- 
tinuance, it was suddenly broken up by the announcement of 
open war. "We give extracts from Mr. Van Meter's interesting 
account : — 

" The weather was not settled, although I did not leave until Dec. 4. 
A storm had been threatening for some days ; and I encountered rough 
weather each day of the passage, increasing in violence towards the 
last. The sea was so heavy, and the sky so threatening, that the boat- 
men hesitated very much to make the last day's run. Upon urging 
them, however, they started ; and we made a very good run to the mouth 
of the Thehrau. Before I could leave my boat, the storm commenced, 
with heavy rain, and lasted for several days. All this time we were 
anxiously awaiting Brother and Sister Beecher. On the eighth day 
we gave them up, concluding that they had either met with some mis- 
fortune, or, in consequence of war rumors, had returned to Sandoway. 
Some of the Karens who came over last from Burma had brought 
alarming reports; but, as there was still some doubt, we remained 
together, hoping that the Beechers would yet come. 

" During the first few days we had preaching, generally twice a day, 
by some of the assistants, and conference on various subjects. At 
length we had to take up the business of the churches, reading letters, 
collecting statistics, etc. Sabbath came, the seventh day we had 
been together; and the question arose, Shall we partake of 'the great 
feast,' or postpone it a few days longer? It was finally deemed best, 
all things considered, to partake of it at that time. We did so in the 
evening, and a most interesting season we had. The services were 
chiefly conducted by the ordained brethren, one of the Sgaus breaking 
the bread, and the Pwo pastor pouring the wine, with remarks from 
each, in their respective dialects. . . . 



WAR. — BASSEIN OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT'S ADIEU. 189 

" There was not so large a number present as at our previous meet- 
ing, nor is the increase among the churches as great as last year. 
Still there are encouraging signs. One of the pleasing features of 
last year, the presence of duly accredited delegates from the churches, 
was repeated. The character and intelligence of those present speak 
well for the churches which sent them. . . . The interest in home 
missions is on the increase. The number of missionaries is to be 
doubled this year. The meeting on Saturday evening was of much 
interest. Thahbwah, the Pwo missionary, gave a detailed account of 
his first tour, the villages visited, his reception, and the general aspect 
of the field. He evidently magnified his office, and seemed elated by 
his success. He had preached in many places, and seen many tokens 
for good. The most encouraging result of his labors was the conver- 
sion of a small village of six or seven houses. They have asked for 
a teacher, and promise to build him a house, and help him otherwise, 
as they are able. A young licentiate received permission to go and 
labor among them. 

" At the close of Thahbwah 's remarks, I endeavored to impress 
upon all the importance of their carrying forward this work with dili- 
gence, and the solemn responsibility resting upon them in view of 
their position in this dark part of the world. They were evidently 
a chosen people. Years and years of labor had been bestowed upon 
the Burmese, but they opposed and resisted. God then turned to the 
poor, despised Karens, and had brought them into his kingdom by 
thousands. He had rejected the Burmans, should we say? No: he 
had set them aside for a season, and chosen the Karens. God had 
committed this work into their hands, and who could set limits to 
what he might accomplish by them among the tribes and nations 
in this and adjacent lands? If they would do the work, God would 
be with them : otherwise he would commit it to others. 

" The interest excited was deep and solemn. This was evident 
from the fact, that, although the hour was late, — we had listened to 
a sermon from one of the assistants before Thahbwah gave his report, 
— there was no restlessness, nor did one of the large congregation go 
out. During the closing prayer, also, there was a silence, which seemed 
to indicate that all hearts were deeply engaged. 

" Another encouraging feature was the character of the preaching 
to which we listened day after day. The speakers seemed to have 
more freedom and confidence, and there were more variety and compass 
in the discussion of their subjects than I had before witnessed. It 



190 



BASSE IN KAREN MISS/ON. 



was with no ordinary interest that I listened to the opening and clos- 
ing sermons. The former, by Man Yay, was a very fair introductory 
sermon, and was filled with reflections suitable to the occasion. He 
is an earnest and effective speaker, and took the lead in almost all our 
discussions. The passage chosen by him was in the second chapter 
of Colossians. A happy allusion was suggested by the fifth verse ; 
viz., the similarity in situation and interests of the absent teachers 
to those of Paul, as there expressed. The concluding sermon was 
preached by Tway Po, sabbath morning. His dignified, authoritative, 
and yet affectionate manner reminded me of some of our good old 
pastors at home, and, for the time, made me almost forget that I was 
in the Arakan jungles. The fixed attention and interest manifested 
on both these occasions were highly creditable. 

" Monday evening the subject of common schools was under discus- 
sion. Some English friends in Akyab had made a contribution to aid 
such schools, and Mr. Van Meter urged the pastors and elders to make 
more earnest efforts to give a primary education to all the children. 
They discussed the matter for some time, and admitted fully the 
importance of the subject ; but I waited in vain to hear some practical 
suggestion. At length I proposed a resolution, that they would each 
and all make special efforts to establish and support schools in the 
villages during the coming year. The number of scholars reported 
was only one hundred and thirty-three ; but less than two-thirds of the 
churches were represented. 

" We had just commenced discussing the need of regular postal 
communication between their villages and Sandoway, at least, every 
other month (their papers, letters, etc., now often lie six months at 
the mission-house without an opportunity of sending), when a note 
was received from Mr. Fytche, informing us of warlike movements 
in Burma. I told the Karens at once : they were terrified, and made 
immediate preparations for leaving. The note came about ten, p.m. 
I divided what money I had with me, in small sums, among the more 
needy ; and before daybreak almost every man had disappeared. On 
the previous day they had selected as many books as they could carry ; 
but they durst not take one with them, nor any thing else that might 
excite suspicion as to whence they had come. This was certainly 
prudent, nor would I detain them under such circumstances. It was 
near midnight when we took each other by the hand. It was a solemn 
parting. Should we ever meet again ? What awaited them on their 
arrival ? Would they ever reach their homes at all ? 



WAR. — BASSEIN OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT'S ADIEU. 191 

" A larger number of Pwos than usual 'were present. A class of 
ten young men came over with the assistants. They were prepared 
either to remain and study with me in the jungle, or to go to Sandoway 
in my boat, if advisable. They dread the long journey on foot and 
its exposures, many of them suffering severely from sickness when- 
ever it is attempted. Among the company were the wife and child 
of Shway Bo, whom we ordained last year, — the first instance, I 
think, of a Pwo woman coming from Burma on such an occasion. . . . 

" Sickness caused the absence of the two [Pwo] assistants. One of 
them has been partially insane for some time past, an infliction, some 
think, from a poongyee [Burman priest] whom he had visited for the 
purpose of discussing the comparative mei'its of Christianity and 
Boodhism. That the poongyees possess some mysterious power to 
inflict serious injury, and even death, upon persons at a distance, is 
still firmly believed by many Karens ; and doubtless this belief exerts 
a very unfavorable influence over them. It seems impossible to con- 
vince them of its absurdity. When pressed, they reply by referring 
to the fact that such things are recognized in the Scriptures, espe- 
cially in connection with the miracles of Christ upon those possessed 
of devils." 

Mr. Beechergives an account of his visit to the Ong Khyoung 
church, which he found in a more flourishing state under the 
joint labors of the young pastor, Tohlo, and " the efficient and 
intelligent" schoolmaster, Shway Bwin. After baptizing six 
candidates, and administering the Lord's Supper, he makes his 
perilous but unsuccessful attempt to reach Thehrau. Voya- 
ging on that rocky coast, as our missionaries of that time con- 
stantly did, in small, smooth-bottomed native canoes, seems 
to us reckless and dangerous in the extreme. We quote from 
the latter part of Mr. Beecher's letter : — 

"We had a gentle, favorable breeze till about ten, a.m., when the 
east wind rose so strong as to drive us from our course, and, still worse, 
prevented us from returning to the land. To run against such a wind 
in such a sea was impossible. The boat pitched and rolled so, that 
the men could not stand without holding on. The wind continued to 
rise, driving us farther and farther out to sea. About two, p.m., the 
boatmen, fearing, that, before the wind would change, we should be 



192 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

driven so far from land as to suffer for want of provisions, if not from 
the violence of the waves, cut away our boat-cover. This left Mrs. 
Beecher and myself exposed to the burning sun. Those were long 
and anxious hours ; but, thanks to our heavenly Father ! we were 
spared from much suffering, other than the intense anxiety. As 
the sun was setting, the wind died away to a gentle breeze, so that the 
boat became manageable, and we turned towards land ; but, as the 
wind was still unfavorable, we were till the third day, at evening, in 
getting to Gwa, the nearest land we could make. While waiting 
there for our boatmen to rest, and to have the boat repaired, Brother 
Van Meter came in, and at the same time a steamer direct from Bas- 
sein, bringing such reports of movements at Rangoon, that it was 
deemed prudent for us to return to Sandoway. 

" My disappointment at not being able to reach the association was 
the saddest of my life. That meeting, which has ever been so full of 
interest and importance, had been this season more than ever the 
subject of thought and prayer; and then, when within a day's sail, to 
be driven off by adverse winds, was a severe trial. But w r e have the 
consolation of knowing that all these things are ordered by infinite 
wisdom and goodness. 

" Only thirty churches were reported, as follows, — baptized, 178 ; 
died, 27 ; excluded, 4 ; net increase, 1 17. Contributions : for support 
of pastors, Rs. 178-13; taxes paid for pastors, Rs. 22-8; for home 
missions, Rs. 88; for the poor, Rs. 17-4; sundries, Rs. 7; total, Rs. 
329-9, besides rice and other provisions supplied to pastors. . . . The 
churches on this coast, with one or two exceptions, are prosperous. 
In Burma the Karens are suffering severely from the exactions of their 
rulers ; but we trust the day of their deliverance is at hand." 

As Sandoway was more exposed to an attack from the Bur- 
mese than either Kyouk Pyoo or Akyab, the missionaries re- 
mained there in some suspense, daily expecting intelligence 
that might compel them to remove to one of those stations. 
Near the end of January, however, the Burmans professed so 
strong a desire for an amicable settlement, that it was believed 
there would be no war. Mr. Beecher was still anxious to visit 
the churches on the coast. He hoped, also, that some of the 
Bassein pastors might come over, and give him an opportu- 
nity of learning the condition of their churches, and of afford- 



WAR. — BASSEIN OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT'S ADIEU. 193 

ing them some aid and advice in this time of trial. The}' had 
already sent once to Sandoway to inquire respecting the inten- 
tions of the English, as they had heard contradictory reports, 
and knew not what to do or expect. The Burmaus had charged 
them with being the canse of the ships-of-war going to Rangoon, 
and of the troubles which followed, and had told them that 
they should suffer for being so friendly to the English. All 
their arms had been seized, and oppressive demands had been 
made upon them to supply the king's army with provisions ; 
but none of the Bassein Karens had been called to go in person 
as soldiers. Accordingly. Mr. Beecher, assured by the English 
officials that there would be no war, left his home and family 
(Jan. 29), and went directly to the most southern church at 
Great Plains. We reprint a part of his letter : — 

"I was highly gratified to find the people healthy and contented, 
and was greeted by them with many expressions of joy. The village 
of the old patriarch had been enlarged by additions from Burma, the 
fruit-trees had thriven, the flowers had not been neglected, and the 
appearance of neatness and comfort observed last year still pervaded 
the village. The old man, with a new wife and renewed youth, was 
active and useful. Shway Au, the young pastor, with a discretion 
above his years, and a degree of energy seldom exhibited by Karens, 
had discharged the responsible duties of his office with such zeal and 
faithfulness, that he may be said to have fully observed the precept, 
'Let no man despise thy youth.' I need not say that a people with 
such an elder and such a pastor are prosperous. ... A new village 
has been formed this year by a number of families from Great Plains. 
Sah Gay, the pastor, is of a retiring disposition, but has firmness of 
purpose and good common sense. He has the cordial support of his 
people. Provoked to good works by the [parent] village, the colonists 
have made praiseworthy improvements, and promise to make still 
more. The people of both villages assemble together in their com- 
modious chapel sabbath mornings, but meet separately in the after- 
noon. Neither ask any aid in supporting their pastor this year, and 
they have jointly contributed over ten rupees for the Home Mission 
Society. 

"Early Sunday morning we repaired to the seaside for a baptism. 
A neat little basin among the rocks, with a smooth, -sandy bottom, 



194 BASSE/19 KAREN MISSION. 

afforded a convenient and attractive baptistery. The solemnity of 
the service was deepened by the sound of many waters rolling upon 
the long beach, and breaking upon the rocks around. Here twenty-two 
were buried with Christ in baptism. In the evening a goodly number 
partook of the broken bread and the wine in remembrance of Christ. 
Having made arrangements for a school, which commenced the day 
after 1 left, with thirty pupils, I bade the people farewell for another 
year. 

" On arriving at Buffalo, Feb. 10. 1 immediately sent for Tway Po. 
He, and nearly all his people, had left their village, and were stopping 
at the mouth of the river, a few' hours distant from their homes. Some 
weeks before, the rendezvous of a band of robbers was discovered in 
the thick jungle near their village ; and, though the robbers had been 
thwarted in some way, still Tway Po and his people were so much 
alarmed by their narrow escape, that they durst not remain there 
longer. It was known, besides, that robbers in Burma, instigated, 
no doubt, by Burman officers, had declared intentions of violence to 
Tway Po. ' It is not his money, or the property of his people, that we 
wish,' say they, ' but his life ; for he has been chief in leading so many 
Karens away from Burma, and in getting favors for them from the 
English.' It was his life, doubtless, that they were seeking; but God 
took care of him and his people. AYe hope that the day of their 
deliverance from robbers is near. The church at Buffalo has received 
additions during the year from Burma. They have enlarged and 
improved their village, and wish to make still further improvements. 
They appear united and cordial in the support of their pastor [Kroo- 
dee], and have given him more than they promised when I was with 
them last year. 

'• The day had been nearly spent in inquiries, etc., when, at the 
hour of evening worship, a letter arrived from Mrs. Beecher, containing 
news of the battle at Rangoon, of the certainty of further hostilities, 
and the necessity of her going to Kyouk Pyoo in case of danger at 
Sandoway. I was then only a day and a half south-west of Bassein, 
and at least eight days from Sandoway. Reports reached us that a 
man-of-war, lying at the mouth of Bassein River, had sent men ashore 
for water, two of whom were shot by the Burmese, and that the ship, 
in turn, was battering down the Burman stockades. My position, to 
say the least, was not pleasant ; and though I longed to remain and 
labor a few days, prudence dictated a speedy return. Accordingly, 
after a season of prayer, the evening was spent in distributing medi- 



WAR. — BASSEIN OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT'S ADIEU. 195 

cine, and imparting such counsel as the occasion seemed to require. 
Tway Po had arrived. Bogalo, the pastor of Sinmah, was present. 
Myat Kyau had failed in an attempt to enter Burma, and was stop- 
ping a few days at Buffalo. Regretting to leave my work unfinished, 
the hope that I was leaving it to enter shortly a wider field in Bassein 
rendered the prospect before me comparatively bright. 

" On my way home I saw a few members of the church at Sinmah. 
The pastor has pursued a course which has alienated and divided his 
people. His chief fault is in his novel and somewhat arbitrary mode 
of discipline. 

" I was much gratified with the appearance of the church at 
Khyoungthah during my stay of a few hours. Twelve or fourteen 
families from Burma have been added during the j T ear, and, though 
they have suffered from sickness and poverty, they seemed hopeful, 
and were intending to improve their village. They are united in their 
pastor, and contribute according to their ability for his support. 

" I reached home in good health after a journey of a day and a half 
by boat, and five days' and a half most fatiguing travel by land. I 
should be ungrateful not to mention the kindness shown me by the 
Burmese through whose villages I passed. On arriving at a village, 
I went to the house of the tlwogyee, or head man, by whom I was 
always welcomed; and the best which his house or village afforded 
was immediately set before me. The men who followed me, too, 
were well supplied with food, and, though money was always offered 
in return, it was very seldom received. It is worthy of remark, also, 
that as soon as the people, Burmans or Karens, learned the news of 
the battle, and the probability that the entire province of Pegu would 
come under British rule, they all, without exception, manifested 
delight. The people of Arakan, having experienced the blessings of 
the mild and just government of the English, are warmly attached 
to it. And, what is still more remarkable, all natives who come from 
Bassein and Rangoon are unanimous in representing that the mass 
of the people there are anxious to throw off the oppressive yoke of 
the king, and would hail with delight the advance of British troops 
into their country. May the Karens soon experience the blessings of 
freedom, and their missionaries be permitted to live and labor among 
them, for their social and spiritual improvement, unmolested ! " 

The Van Meters went to Akyab the last of January, and 
from thence, in March, to Maulmain. The Beechers staid on 



196 BASS BIN KAREN MISSION. 

at Sandoway until near the end of March, when that station 
was menaced by a body of two thousand marauders from 
Burma ; and the}' retired to Kyouk Pyoo, where they spent the 
rainy season with the deeply afflicted Mrs. Campbell. 

No one watched the progress of events more keenly than Mr. 
Abbott. The capture of Martaban (April 5) and of Rangoon 
(April 14), followed shortly by the successful storming of Bas- 
sein itself, filled his heart with gratitude and joy. Though 
sadly broken in health and spirits, his mind is much occupied 
with thoughts about his dear, scattered Karens, and with plans 
for the future. On the 12th of May he writes from Maulmain 
as follows : — 

" It will be no news to you that Rangoon is a British possession. 
Bassein will be taken soon, and the lower provinces of Burma will 
probably be annexed to the dominions of the East India Company. 
I have made several attempts to reach Bassein, and hope to succeed 
next time. That place will become the centre of our missionary 
operations, hitherto conducted from Sandoway. The war will throw 
every thing into confusion. Villages and churches will be broken up 
and scattered, pastors killed, and every thing in desolation. The work 
of years is to be done over again, — villages are to be gathered, churches 
to be re-organized, a station to be built up, pi-ovision made to meet 
the increased demand for trained preachers and school-teachers ; and 
the Home Mission Society, on which so much depends, is to be resus- 
citated. With increased facilities for labor, the demand for labor 
increases. 

" I do not see how Sandoway can be abandoned at present. The 
mission property, the Burmese church, the Karen interests in the 
vicinity, the station as a centre of missionary operations, should not, 
it seems to me, be all abandoned at once. If Brother Beecher remain 
there a year or two only, I should hope that a native pastor from 
Akyab might be found to occupy the post, so that that interesting 
field may not be left desolate. 

" Then what are we to do at Bassein ? I had hoped to see that 
mission in a state that would justify my leaving it, for a while, at 
least. Five years have passed since my return ; but never was my 
presence more imperatively demanded than now. Three years more, 
at least. We must hare help now. I therefore propose to the Execu- 



WAR. — BASSEIN OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT'S ADIEU. 197 

tive Committee to appoint Brother Thomas of Tavoy as my colleague, 
to come and join me at once. . . . Think of all those churches and 
pastors, that great field, hitherto so flourishing, now so desolate ! 
Moreover, my poor health will not justify high hopes. Brother Van 
Meter will go with me, but what can we do ? " . . . 

Those who have any acquaintance with the history of mis- 
sions, from the days of Paul and Barnabas until now, will 
perceive without surprise that there was at this time a difficult}' 
between those excellent brethren, Abbott and Beecher, which 
seemed to prevent their laboring harmoniously at the same sta- 
tion. Details are uncalled for. As we have already said, they 
were unlike in disposition. Both were intensely human, liable, 
like the best of human kind, to err, and, doubtless, both did 
err. Each, by the grace of God, did a splendid work, in which 
they both now rejoice, as they also rejoice each in the other's 
perfections before the Lamb of God. Him they both loved 
and served on earth with an intensity of purpose that few of 
the present generation have approached ; and him they both 
are serving and loving in heaven, world without end. 

The Executive Committee were not unwilling to comply with 
Mr. Abbott's earnest request ; but, before Mr. Thomas could 
become a missionary in Bassein, he must needs do ten years 
and more of hard, successful work in Ilenthada. Messrs. 
Abbott and Van Meter left Maulmain for Bassein in the steam- 
er Tenasserim, July 10, arriving on the 12th. The Boodhist 
kyoung, or monastery, which they secured for their temporary 
abode, was situated on the north side of Aylesbury Street, 
between Merchant Street and the Strand Road, quite near the 
present compound of the Roman-Catholic mission. "We quote 
from Mr. Van Meter's interesting journal : — 

"July 11, 1852, Sabbath. — Reached Diamond Island at six, p.m. 
Weather very pleasant since leaving Amherst. We had a fine run, 
from mouth to mouth, in thirty-two hours, the distance some two 
hundred miles. Anchored at the mouth of the river. A beautiful 
harbor. 



198 BASS BIN KAREN MISSION. 

" 12th. — Anchored off Bassein at one, p.m. ; distance, seventy miles. 
The appearance of the country on either bank is very pleasant and 
inviting, more so than any river I have yet seen in India. "Was dis- 
appointed in the appearance of Bassein ; scarcely any elevation in or 
near the site of the town. Ruins of houses, stockades and fortifica- 
tions, are visible in every direction. The town is hidden from view 
by a massive brick wall, extending for nearly a mile along the east 
side of the river. Some houses are left on either side of this fortifi- 
cation ; but every thing is swept clean in front of it. Going on shore, 
we found the place little more inviting within than without. Many 
beautiful trees had been destroyed by the Burmese; and the English, 
as a prudential measure, were cutting down the remainder. Hardly 
a house was left standing, save those occupied by troops and their 
officers. These were principally old kyoungs. The fortification, as 
stated, is of massive brick-work in front and to a considerable dis- 
tance on both sides, but is extended by stockades. The whole area 
thus enclosed is about one square mile. Before, and at some distance 
from, each of the gateways, is a mass of masonry ten or fifteen feet 
thick. The entrances are passages of solid brick-work about ten feet 
wide, fifteen feet high, and thirty feet long. There are many brick 
walks in the town, some extending a good distance outside, but much 
out of repair. They are lined on either side with pagodas, idol- 
temples, kyoungs, etc. A large pagoda, said to be a hundred feet 
high, stands on an elevated platform connected with the front wall, 
facing nearly the centre of the town. It has been gilded recently, 
and is quite imposing at a distance. 

" As soon as we had come to anchor, Brother Abbott sent off the 
few Karens that had come with us [including Dahbu, Shahshu, Poo 
Goung, Yohpo, and Thahree, then students, but since excellent or- 
dained ministers, every one. — Ed.], to learn if there were any others 
in or near the city. They soon came back accompanied by several, 
whom they found stopping here. The meeting was an unexpected 
and happy one. Shway Weing, 'the young chief of former days, is 
now in great favor with most of the officers, and has been appointed 
head man of all the Karens and Shans in this district. He has a 
great deal to do, also, in supplying provisions for the officers and men. 
He is the same uncompromising Christian as ever. Immediately on 
our arrival, he sent off men in various directions to tell that the 
teachers had come to Bassein. 

" Our first object was to find a good place for residence. We 



WAR. — BASSE1N OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT'S ADIEU. 199 

found a substantial lyoung, almost new, standing in a beautiful grove, 
a short distance from the south gate of the town. I must not forget 
to mention the very considerate conduct of Gen. Godwin. Just be- 
fore reaching town, he came and inquired very kindly about the 
health of Mr. Abbott, remarked the severity of his cough, inquired as 
to our intentions, and if there were any thing he could do for us. He 
said, further, that he would speak to the officer in command to aid us 
in securing a place of residence. I should mention, also, that yester- 
day one of the staff-officers expressed a deep interest in our work, and 
inquired how he could aid us, observing that he had a handsome 
allowance, and had no object in laying up money. 

"13th. — Called on Major Roberts, the officer in command, and 
were very kindly received. He at once granted our request for the 
kyoung above mentioned, or any other building not yet occupied, that 
might suit our purpose, and kindly proffered further aid. A pious 
officer of the Fifty-first European also gave us a warm reception, and 
pressed us to tell him of any way he could serve us. He took a deep 
interest in the Karen Christians from the first, and had ordered books 
from Maulmain, some of which he had received and distributed be- 
fore we came. He is expecting another box shortly. Some pious 
European soldiers were also much rejoiced to learn that we had come. 

" Hth. — The Sesostris left early for Rangoon, with the general and 
staff on board. I spent most of the day on shore, superintending 
the demolition of a large kyoung, to get materials to finish the one 
assigned us, the roof of which had been stripped off only a few days 
before our arrival. I felt almost guilty in thus destroying the prop- 
erty of others; but it is the order of the day. The Karens have begun 
to come in already, both preachers and people. Had a respectable 
congregation this evening. Brother Abbott spoke to them briefly, 
but with difficulty, as he is suffering again with a bad throat. 

"15th. — Still busy in bringing materials from the demolished 
kyoung. All the kyoungs here are of timber, and they are neither few 
nor small. There is another large one standing in our enclosure, 
which, though quite old, will answer very well for a schoolroom and 
Karen boarding-house. A large amount of timber has been put into 
stockades ; and buildings of all kinds have suffered a common de- 
struction for the sake of the common defence. Brother Abbott was 
not able to go on shore this evening. I had the pleasure of address- 
ing a congregation of at least sixty, among whom were the ordained 
preachers Myat Keh, Po Kway, and Shway Bo. 



200 BASSE J N KAREN MISSION. 

"16lh. — People continue to come in from villages one, two, and 
three days distant. Many of them are Twos, who never before saw 
a Christian teacher. The Pwo assistants are but few, and live some 
distance above Bassein. I have been astonished to find that almost 
every Pwo who has yet come in is as ignorant of God and true reli- 
gion as the most benighted tribes of Africa. When questioned, their 
reply is, ' We know nothing of God or religion, but the worship of 
pagodas and idols and poongyees ; ' and yet very few that I have seen 
are idolaters. When asked why they, knowing that the Sgaus wor- 
shipped the true God, and had a holy book, had not worshipped the 
same God, they reply, ' How could we without a teacher? We have 
never seen one who could speak our language. But now, since the 
teacher has come, we will all become Christians.' 

" I visited the ' mud fort ' this evening, where so many of the Bur- 
mese were killed in the late assault by the English. ft must cover 
an area of some four or five acres, and has a large tank near the cen- 
tre, intended to destroy the effect of shells from the ships ! The whole 
was built in two months ; from a thousand to fifteen hundred men 
being employed on it. The front was protected by a novel kind of 
chevaux de /rise, made of bamboos firmly twisted and bound together 
at the base, but bristling with points as thick as quills on a porcu- 
pine's back. The English, however, took the liberty of selecting 
their own road, and all this labor was worse than useless ; for the 
place became a snare, and the common grave of many who aided in 
building it. 

"Addressed the people again this evening, their numbers still 
increasing. The Karens who took me to the steamer after dark were 
more than once on the point of turning back, ' afraid the foreigners 
would shoot them.' Jt is very unpleasant to live on shipboard at 
sucli a time, instead of with the people. And yet, unless we could get 
within the stockade, this is much the best place for a quiet night's 
rest. There is no knowing how near a band of Burmese soldiers or 
robbers may be. But, if our house were in order, we would go into it 
at once. 

"17th. — Brother Abbott still unable to go on shore. . . . Shway 
Bo had to return to-day, as word had come that Burin an troops were 
approaching his village. Those living above here are very anxious to 
have the steamer go up, and drive away the Burmese. They are said 
to be two thousand strong, distant only one day's march. Several 
companies have come in to-day, one numbering fifteen persons, three 
of them preachers. 



WAR. — BASSEIN OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT'S ADIEU. 201 

"18th, Sabbath. — Met for the first time in the new house. It is 
but partly covered. The covered room, which is some fifteen by 
thirty feet, is much too small : there were about seventy crowded into 
it, and at least twenty outside. No women or young children present. 
.Some eight or ten were preachers. Had an interesting season ; spoke 
from Ps. ciii. A large number of Twos present, — substantial, honest- 
looking men. All seem ready to enter the kingdom at once, but 
want a guide. Oh that the Lord of the harvest would raise up and 
send forth laborers into his harvest, apparently so ready for the 
reaper ! I am anxious to have a class of young men in training as 
soon as possible. Two or three assistants have come in from Arakan. 
They say that the people are all moving eastward. We tell them to 
wait a while, and on no account to come yet. I begin now to feel 
that there is work for me here. 

" 20th. — Have been on shore all day, and taken meals in native 
style, — without knife, fork, or spoon. Mau Yay came in to-day with 
a number of new Pwos. The latter were anxious to know whether 
they must worship the priests or not. They seemed much surprised 
when told that priests were like other men, and that none but God 
should be worshipped. For two weeks we have been living on board 
a war-steamer, with every thing in readiness for action. Now we 
have a little more of this than ever, as this has become the guard- 
ship since the departure of the Sesostris. The thirty-two-pounders 
fired at nine, p.m., make a disagreeable noise to one not accustomed 
to such sounds. We would not have chosen such a situation ; but we 
have uniformly met with the kindest and most respectful treatment 
from all the officers. 

u 23d. — For two days have been wholly occupied on the house. 
There is a good deal yet to be done, and not a carpenter to be had. 
Some twenty Karens are on hand, all very willing to help, in their 
way. They are useful in heavy, rough jobs, but poor helpers in other 
kinds of work. They have already broken my saw, two chisels, 
hatchet-handle, etc. Nevertheless it would be very hard to do with- 
out them, especially as they work for nothing, and find themselves. 
Brother Abbott came on shore yesterday morning much improved. 
Had worship last evening in the larger room (thirty feet by fifty), 
which we take for a chapel. The part which we shall occupy is about 
half that size, and was formerly used by the poongyees as a dormitory 
and a place for keeping idols, sacred books, etc. 

" After the service last evening there was a meeting of the preach- 



202 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

ers. Twelve were present. The four ordained men, Tway Po, Man 
Yay, Myat Keh, and Po Kway, had been appointed a committee to 
inquire as to the losses of all the assistants, and their present needs. 
The case of each was taken up separately, and duly recorded. The 
result was, that some two hundred rupees were asked for to be divided 
among fifteen assistants. This sum, it must be remembered, is all 
that they have i-eceived for about two years; Mr. Beecher having been 
.unable to reach the last annual meeting. Arrangements were made 
to-day for the school. No Sgaus are to come who cannot read. An 
exception will be made in favor of Pwos. We do not wish a large 
number, but tell them to select from each village three or four prom- 
ising boys that are most anxious to learn, and send them in by the 
next full moon. 

"26th. — By working hard and late on Saturday, succeeded in en- 
closing the chapel and a tolerably comfortable room for each of us. 
Several of the assistants and others came last evening, after worship, 
to ask if there was more work to be done ; if not, they must return to- 
morrow. I must now let work alone for a while, and give all my time 
to the people, who still come in small companies, two or three daily. 
Mr. Abbott came off on Saturday, and brought all his things, his 
health much improved. He was able to preach Saturday evening, and 
twice yesterday, and does not seem the worse for it. Had a delightful 
sabbath. The day was very pleasant, and this increased the cheering 
effect of the services. The congregation consisted chiefly of Christian 
Sgaus, who have been gathering here for several days. Immediately 
after each service, I got the Pwos around me, and read and talked 
with them about the great God and the dying Saviour. Must always 
begin with the first elements of Christianity in talking with these 
people. The progress is slow at first, as many words and phrases 
have to be explained; and the difficulty is increased by the fact that 
the book dialect cliffei*s from that spoken in this section. 

u 29th. — There is a great Pwo population east and north of Bas- 
sein, and there are not a few below also. . . . The most interesting 
company came in yesterday. They are all Christians, and came with 
Thahbwah. He says that in that village, Kyootah, there are fifty-two 
worshippers not yet baptized. One of the old men who came with 
him wept for joy. Here is precious fruit. Oh that it may increase a 
thousand-fold ! They have a good school in the village. The other 
Pwo assistants, two of them, at least, are so far north that they dare 
not move. They are subject to constant oppression and exactions by 
the Burmese." 



WAR. — BASSE IN OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT'S ADIEU. 203 

Mr. Abbott, writing July 24, gives an interesting view of the 
state of the churches in Basseiu : — 

"Nearly all the preachers have reported themselves. Five have 
died this year, including Myat Kyau, the first ordained Karen pastor. 
All these, with one exception, died of cholera, and they were all valu- 
able men. I have not time to give further particulars. A great many 
disciples died of the same disease ; but I have not learned the whole 
number. Many of the Karens have suffered extreme oppression. 
Nearly all their chapels have been demolished by the Burmese, so that 
there are but five or six left standing in Burma. Still the people were 
wonderfully delivered from the most extreme sufferings they appre- 
hended in case of war. Many of them were confined, to be executed 
as soon as the English should approach the country. But the war 
steamers came up, and took Bassein before the Burmans had time to 
execute their threats upon the Karens ; and, after the town was taken, 
they all betook themselves to flight, and the Karens escaped. They 
consider their deliverance a wonderful interposition of Providence. 
Some districts, however, are still overrun by bands of robbers. In 
them the people are oppressed to the last point of endurance. 

" There are seven or eight hundred European and native troops in 
Bassein, and a company of artillery, — enough to protect the place 
against any Burmese force. They are not likely to be attacked, as 
the Burmese army is dispersed. Still the English forces will not go 
out into the surrounding country to protect the people during the 
rains." 

On the 26th of August Mr. Van Meter again writes : — 

" The two principal Pwo churches which are above Bassein have 
been unable to communicate with us, as the old [Burman] governor 
of Bassein is still occupying that region with some soldiers. We hope 
to hear from them soon, as the steamer moved up unexpectedly five 
days ago, and no doubt has made thorough work this time. The 
Christians in those parts have been in much danger, merely because 
they ai*e Christians ; for, as you know, all the blame of this war is 
laid on the Karen disciples. Their preachers have been fined very 
heavily, some having to pay upwards of two hundred rupees, and 
there were strong fears that it would come to worse. Already the 
Burmans had forbidden them to worship, commanded them to destroy 
their chapels, to drink arrack, and do things that would destroy their 



204 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

Christian character. None had yet yielded to any but the first of 
these arbitrary requisitions; but it was feared they would be com- 
pelled, unless deliverance soon came. 

" Our school begau at the ' death of the moon,' two weeks since. 
We had difficulty in getting a place for cooking and eating, as it is 
almost impossible to procure building materials. So we took posses- 
sion of a third kyoung, a short distance away. Abundance of rice, 
with a few other articles, has been furnished by the Karens. What 
had to be bought was bought by the assistants in adjoining villages, 
at the best advantage. The people in this region seem to be coming 
to recognize more and more the justice of the principle that Karens 
are to help Karens, while the American churches take care of the 
' teachers.' There are upwards of eighty students here at present, 
most of them young men. A number of the younger preachers are 
here also. Many of the young men have been studying for two or 
more years, and are therefore, in a measure, prepared to appreciate 
the daily lectures of Brother Abbott on the Scriptures. Other classes 
are conducted by the more advanced students under his direction. 
We have not yet heard how soon Brother Beecher will be able to join 
us. 

" I have a little nucleus of six Pwo pupils, all of whom have learned 
to read within the year. I feel almost unwilling to detain any of the 
few who have been with us at Sandoway, or any of the Pwo assistants, 
as the time seems so favorable for labor among the Pwos. There 
are large districts near by, occupied almost exculsively by them, which 
no Pwo preacher has ever visited. A few days since, Shway Bo, 
accompanied by one of our former scholars, started for Shway Loung, 
one of the largest Pwo districts, containing a thousand houses. He 
is a competent man, and we hope that a flourishing church will spring- 
up there as the fruit of his labors. They have taken books, and v* ill 
commence a school at once, if scholars can be had. The other assist- 
ants are at present engaged in their respective fields, but are intend- 
ing to go out into new fields as soon as arrangements can be made to 
supply their places. Even since our arrival here, I have learned of 
two or three young men coming forward as assistants, of whom I had 
not heard before. And thus we hope the Lord will furnish laborers 
for the great Pwo field, as he has for the work among the Sgaus. 

" The country, on every side excepting the west, has been overrun 
for some weeks past by robber-bands, — men who but lately were in 
the Burman army, but are now scattered in companies of two or three 



WAR. — BASSEIN OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT'S ADIEU. 20f> 

hundred each. Constant reports of their depredations were reaching 
us ; but it was not until lately that they began burning and sacking 
villages. The Burrnan head man over Bassein is devoid of principle, 
like all his kin, and is strongly suspected by the English officers, of 
playing a double game. Some of them are watching him very closely. 
' Only give us some proof,' they say, ' and we will soon bring him to 
account.' lie sent out his men, but accomplished nothing, and the 
robbers were only getting bolder, and coming nearer and nearer to 
Bassein. The same man made a great ado when told that Shway 
Weing would have exclusive control of the Karens. Indeed, Capt. 

I , a great friend of the Karens, tells me that he made such an 

uproar, that the major had to put him down summarily. At first he 
would not hear to it at all. How could he govern the country, and 
have a Karen govern at the same time over the same country ! After 
leaving the presence of the officers, they say, he was so enraged that 
he struck Shway Weing, as they were going along together. But he 

will not attempt that again ; for, as Capt. I says, if they did not 

lay down the law, and the consequences he would meet if he ever 
dared to repeat the act, it was because the interpreter was afraid to 
tell him what they said. They even threatened him with the basti- 
nado, if he ever interfered with Shway Weing, who, they told him, 
was entirely independent of him. 

" Shway Weing is now absent, has actually gone to fight the Bur- 
mans. He left here last Saturday, — offered to go of his own ac- 
cord, — took some fifty men, two or three old muskets, and a few dahs 
[large knives]. He went with the sanction of the officer in com- 
mand, who could not, however, furnish him with arms. Brother Ab- 
bott tried to dissuade him from going, unless arms and ammunition 
were furnished him, and says he would not be surprised if he should 
be killed, for he is no coward. Still, as Brother Abbott said at the 
time, ' he knows what he is about. He has not been the son of a chief 
all his life, without getting some ideas of chieftainship.' His inten- 
tion probably is to 'set a thief to catch a thief.' This he can do by 
collecting three or four hundred Pwo robbers, who are not scarce in 
these regions. Inspired with the idea of fighting against the Bur- 
mans with the sanction of the English, fighting, too, for their own 
country, they would be a formidable enemy for any equal number of 
Bnrraans. Shway Weing is a noble specimen of the Karen, very 
amiable, and much esteemed by all who know him. He looks young, 
but is not far from fifty. He often speaks of the, time when he alone, 



20G BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

of all the Karens in this region, worshipped the true God. I forgot 
to mention that he is head man over the Talaings also, and they are 
much attached to his rule. Burmans even have complained that they 
could not have him [for their ruler]. 

"30th. — We have received news from Shway Weing. He has raised 
some four hundred men and a hundred and fifty muskets. Those 
who had not fire-arms were armed with spears and swords, just drawn 
from their hiding-places. He did not intend to move, however, till 
he had increased his force to seven hundred or eight hundred men. 
We have recently heard that armed boats, and a considerable native 
force, have been sent from Rangoon to Pantanau in pursuit of the 
Burmese. Shortly after our arrival here, a company of Pwos came, 
who said that they were Christians, and were very glad to see us; 
they harl given up all hope of seeing a teacher, since theirs had been 
taken away to Ava. One of them was very communicative, repeated 
a portion of their creed (Roman Catholic), and sung a hymn in good 
style, the subject of which was praise to the great Creator. All the 
sentiments were quite evangelical, until near the close, when Mary 
came in for a share of divine honors. The man was a little suspi- 
cious, however, and soon inquired if we were the same as their teacher. 
He said they had no Bible, but had other books. Just before leaving, 
he inquired where ' that teacher Abbott ' was. He seemed to be taken 
quite aback when Brother Abbott told him he was the man. He has 
not been here since. A few boys have been in, who said that their 
parents were disciples, but did not worship, now that their teacher was 
gone; that they could read, but not our books. 

" Brother Abbott has been very poorly. Says he knows he is grow- 
ing weaker every day, and was never so weak before. He has lost 
flesh very fast of late. His cough distresses him constantly, and, with 
frequent other complaints, it must be literally true, as he himself says, 
that he hardly has a moment of freedom from pain." 

For more than two months Mr. Abbott was permitted to con- 
tinue his instructions to the faithful band of Karen ministers, 
young and old, who loved and revered him as few men have 
been loved by their children according to the flesh. For their 
use, he had just carried through the press two sizable and well- 
prepared volumes of Notes on the Book of Acts and on the 
Epistle to the Hebrews. At last his strength is all gone. The 



WAR. — BASSEIN OCCUPIED. — ABBOTT 'S AD IE U. 207 

willing spirit can no longer force the worn-out body to do its 
bidding. He himself sees that he must leave Bassein and the 
dear Karens forever. On the 27th of September Mr. Van 
Meter wrote to the secretary : — 

" You will not be unprepared to learn that Brother Abbott has at 
length decided to quit the field. Since my last, he has been failing 
more and more, reviving, perhaps, for two or three days, but only to 
fall lower the next time. This decision cost him a long and dreadful 
struggle. Night after night did lie toss on his bed, scarcely closing 
his eyes at all in sleep. He said it seemed as if he would be ' recreant 
to God and man ' to leave this field, so inviting, just when he was so 
well prepared for this peculiar work. Ah ! when will these bereaved 
children ever see another father such as he ? " 

"When the decision was finally reached, he called the preach- 
ers around him to receive his last words, — words never before 
committed to paper, but still heard upon the lips of children's 
children in the land of his imperishable labors : " The kingdom 
of Christ is here in Bassein. You must care for it, and labor 
for it faithfully. Do not rely too much on the white teachers. 
Rely on God. If his kingdom prospers, it will prosper through 
your efforts. If it is destroyed, it will be at your hands." 
To his faithful Thahree and other j'oung men he said, "The 
American Christians have spent much money on you Be dili- 
gent and zealous in the Lord's service. Do not look for gov- 
ernment employ." To all of them he said, " Pgah lev a? mall 
ah tau tali fthay bah nay, mau a'thu Vmali sgah lau tali t'gay " 
(He that cannot make an increase, let him not diminish). By 
which he is understood to have meant, if you cannot increase 
in wisdom, in the love of God, in contributions, in numbers, 
etc., at least, let every man and every church hold its own. Let 
there be no falling off in any good word or work. 

One of the native Christians who was present says, — 

" We pitied the teacher very much. There was nothing left of him 
but skin and bones. He could not walk. As he left us, lie said, ' If 
I do not die, I will come again ; but I am very sick. As the Lord 
wills.' " 



208 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

Nov. G, writing from Maulmain on his way to America, Mr. 

Abbott says, — 

" When the Karen preachers and students heard the first lisp of 
my design, the scenes through which I passed till I left, I am not 
able to describe. All the ordained pastors, and many of the preachers, 
were with me to the last. I was able, from time to time, to tell them 
all my plans for rebuilding their chapels, and gathering their scattered 
flocks. Our intercourse for the last few days was sad. Many bitter 
tears were shed ; and the pastors clung to me as though they would 
not give me up." 

Mr. Van Meter, writing at the time, says, — 

"Such is the depth of feeling among the Karens, that they can 
hardly approach him without weeping. Several times, within a few 
days, I have seen one and another come to him; and, before a word 
could be uttered, the tear starts, the bosom heaves, and they turn 
away, and weep like children about to lose a fond and revered parent. 
. . . Myat Keh gave a long exhortation to the Karens, Sunday evening, 
on the necessity of faith in prayer, and, by way of application, urged 
them all to try its efficacy in the case of their teacher. He himself 
spent the whole night in prayer." 

Perhaps the only parallel to these scenes is Paul's parting 
with the elders at Miletus. Yet the Karens are far from beina; 
a demonstrative people. It has been said even, that they are 
not susceptible of gratitude. As with other races, something 
depends on the man who serves them and on the value of the 
service rendered. 




Graduates of the Bassein Karen Girls' School, 1872. 



CHAPTER XI. 

1853. 

" Keep open among the heathen the doors that are open, and open those 
that are shut." — Moravian Motto. 

" Human kindness is a, key that unlocks every door, however firmly it 
may seem to be closed against us." — Rev. W. Lawes, New Guinea. 

" Kindness, but not gifts. Galleon-loads of silver and gay clothing will 
not purchase love for the missionary, or recommend the Saviour of sin- 
ners to any people." — Anonymous. 

In October a flotilla of seven or eight steamers, and a detach- 
ment of three thousand men, proceeded up the swollen Irra- 
waddy. Prome and Henthada were occupied, with little or no 
opposition. Soon after, Pegu, the former capital of the Talaing 
kingdom, was taken, after a stubborn fight of a few hours. On 
the 20th of December, 1852, the whole of the ancieut kingdom 
of Pegu was formally annexed to British India by proclamation 
of the Governor-General. Salutes were fired, and the admin- 
istration of the new province was committed to the able hands 
of Capt. Phayre, the kind friend of the Sandoway missionaries. 
To Capt. Fytche, who succeeded Phayre in Sandoway, the 
charge of the turbulent Bassein district was soon intrusted. 
Meanwhile the barbarous predatory warfare, in which alone the 
Burmans are adepts, continued to rage over the entire country, 
outside of the garrisoned towns, and beyond the range of armed 
steamers. The Karens in their retired villages, and on account 
of their well-known attachment to the English, were exposed to 
the full force of the enemy's fury and hatred. Murder, tor- 
tures, robbery, and incendiarism were constant occurrences. 
Mr. Van Meter's journal, which follows, gives a vivid picture 

209 



210 BASSE IX KAREN .MISSION. 

of what the Christians had to pass through in the transition 
from Burmese to English rule. Had the Karens been properly 
armed by the English, and allowed to fight under leaders of 
their own, doubtless they would have proved even a better 
match for the Burmans than they were. 

" Sept. 22. — Sad news came in to-day of the destruction of two 
Karen villages. . . . 

"23d. — Heard to-day of the destruction of Kan Gyee's village. 
He is a younger brother of Shway Weing, and third in authority over 
the Karens in this region. . . . 

" Oct. 2. — Reports constantly arrive of the continued depredations 
of the Burmese in Karen villages. Two or three companies are in 
daily from the north or from the east. The people are flying, or if 
they dare to remain at home, and receive the Burmese, are subjected 
to the most relentless extortions. The Burmans have again appointed 
their own governors over all this part of the country. The steamer 
went up the river again on Monday, but did not accomplish much. 
Her shells were poor, and burst at a short distance from the ship. 
Have just learned of a spirited and successful resistance made by the 
Karens at Kyootah. The Burmese had decided to attack the village 
on Sunday, supposing the Karens would then be at worship, and off 
their guard. A few, however, with only four muskets, were on the 
watch for them at a point where the stream becomes quite narrow. 
The Burmese came in twenty boats, large and small. The Karens 
attacked them just at the right time. Thirteen of the Burmans were 
killed on the spot, and the others took to flight, leaving twelve of their 
boats behind. Kan Gyee came in yesterday, and gave an account of 
an attack by the Karens on Tantazin, known to contain those who 
had plundered and burned their villages. Two Burmans were killed, 
and six muskets taken. They could not take prisoners, as they would 
be pursued by a large Burman force, which was near by. 

"ltyh. — Two Sgau Karens were 'cut to death' by the Burmans 
yesterday, at Paybeng. A man in to-day says the Burmans have 
carried off two children of his. Shway Weing's son is lying here very 
low of cholera. There have been a number of fatal cases here within 
a few days. War and pestilence — what occasion for gratitude, that 
thus far the complement of the fearful trio, famine, has not made its 
appearance 1 

"16th. — Shway Weing reports that the Karens resisted an attack 



TUB KAREN TAKES HIS TURN. 211 

of the Burmese two days ago in Theegwin. Sixteen of the enemy 
were killed. 

"17th, Sabbath. — Some ten or fifteen women and a number of 
children, accompanied by two or three men, came in to-day from Pay- 
beng, flying from the Burmans. The wife and child of one of the 
men died on the way, of cholera: others were left sick at the village, 
and some on the way, with a few faithful ones to watch over them. 
Three came in from Kindat. The people there are in constant fear. 
They say that the Burmans above now talk of compelling the Karens 
in that quarter to go and fight the Karens who are making such a 
spirited resistance below; but they are to have no arms! This idea, to 
drive Karens before them when makii\g an attack, so as to protect 
themselves from the shots of the enemy, is quite original. 

"20th. — Capt. Burbank of the Pluto is very anxious to render aid 
to the Karens. He will go down immediately, and drive off the 
Burmans, if the major will consent. He gave Shway Weing eighteen 
hundred charges of powder ; and Capt. Irby supplied him with five 
hundred balls. Powder is very scarce. It is rather anomalous for a 
missionary to have the request for gunpowder, coupled with that for 
medicine, many times every day. Shway Weing's son is out of 
danger. 

" 22d. — Some Karens from above have just brought down the head 
of a Burmese chief, who was on his way, with four hundred and fifty 
men, to attack Kyouk Khyoung-gyee, two hours above us. Thirty 
Karens and eight Burmans, with about twenty muskets, lay in am- 
bush, and attacked i.is party in front and rear, as they were passing 
between a hill and the river. More than ten of the enemy were killed, 
and several wounded : the remainder escaped. 

"25th. — Kan Gyee is just in from Kyootoo with five prisoners. A 
party of fifty or sixty came to plunder and destroy what was left at 
this village. The Karens attacked them, taking five prisoners and 
one musket. 

"28th. — Heard this morning, that three young men were killed a 
day or two since in Labogala. They were taken while driving buffa- 
loes. Two were also taken, under similar circumstances, in Theegwin, 
four days ago, and tortured to death, by making incisions all over 
their bodies, and rubbing salt into them. 

"80th. — The Karens say that their buffaloes are killed by the Bur- 
mans, who sell the meat, and buy powder of their friends in and 
about the town, and then go back to fight them. • ' But what object 



212 BASSEIX KAREN MISSION. 

can they have in fighting with you ? ' I have asked again and again. 
'What do they expect to gain by it?' From all that I can learn, 
there seem to be three classes of Burmans, — those who fight because 
they are compelled to, those who do it for plunder, and those who do 
it from hearty good-will. The latter lay all the blame of the war on 
the Karens, because they have adopted the religion of the English. 
Kyootah has had to submit at last. The village is destroyed. The 
Karens say, ' If we kill ten, they send fifteen ; if one hundred cannot 
conquer us, they send two hundred ; if that will not do, they send 
three hundred; and so on, until they completely overpower us.' 

" Nov. 1. — Called at the mess of the Ninth Native Infantry, and 
mentioned the great need of the Karens for powder. A spirited con- 
tribution was immediately set on foot. I thought it best to take up 
with a suggestion of one of the officers, to send off a servant of his to 
try and buy some, as the Burmese [traders] are now refusing to sell 
to the Karens. 

" 3d. — The Karens in Labogala repulsed an attack of the Burmese, 
and killed three. As usual, none were injured on the side of the 
Karens, — a fact which they often mention with much feeling, ascribing 
it to God's goodness. Capt. Grant, a great friend of Shway Weing, 
gave him a very pretty brass-mounted sword yesterday, with this note : 
' I have presented a sword to Moving Shway Weing-gyee, as he is a 
sterling, honest man, and head of the Karens in this district.' 

"6th. — A great fight just reported, and the Karens victorious. 
The Burmans had built a stockade at Magyeegon in the Pandau dis- 
trict, and garrisoned it with two hundred men. The assaulting party 
consisted of two hundred Karens on land, and eighty Burmans in 
boats. The fight lasted, from a little after noon, until near sunset, 
when the garrison made their escape as they best could. Three 
officers, having secreted themselves in the jangle, were captured and 
killed. Several others were killed, and a number of muskets taken; 
but none on the Karen side were injured. 

11 9th. — The Karens took eight Burman prisoners at Zanwa-khyoung. 
They were found under very suspicious circumstances. Four of them 
were brought in to-day. We hear that two steamers came down to 
Shway Loung ; and, upon inquiry as to the authors of the disturbances 
there, all the blame was laid on the Karens. Two Karens who tried 
to reach the steamers were taken by the Burmans, and killed. Have 
just heard, that, of a number of Karen women kept prisoners at 
Kyoung-gon, three have already died through the violence offered 
them by their brutal captors. 



THE KAREN TAKES HIS TURN. 213 

" A large number of Karens came in to-day to help build me a 
house. I have decided to build a good-sized house inside the stockade. 
Have had quite enough of the jungle, in which our Icyoung stands. I 
have not been well for a number of weeks, and the officers all advise 
the change. The European troops that have just come to relieve those 
who have been here since the town was taken have been getting large 
quantities of gold and silver images from the old pagodas, which had 
been dug over and over again for that purpose. Several hundred have 
been taken out by them already. I had heard, but had never before 
seen or imagined, how much Boodhism costs its stupid devotees, from 
whom you can hardly get the least pittance for a neatly printed volume 
in their own language, on the most interesting of subjects. 

"12th. — I was a good deal annoyed yesterday to hear that the 
Karens who brought in the four Burman prisoners were themselves in 
the stocks, and the prisoners set free. I called on the major, and repre- 
sented the case rather strongly. He charged Shway Weing with false- 
hood. He said the prisoners had been placed in Shway Weing's hands; 
that no one else had any control over them ; that he had not ordered 
the Karens to be put in the stocks, etc. The matter was much com- 
plicated by the appearance of Xga So, second in authority to Shway 
Weing, who was introduced by the interpreter as having a complaint 
to make against Shway Weing. Early this morning I called them 
both, with other Karens, and examined into the whole affair. . . . 
Shway Weing says, that, if I were not here, he could not stand it, 
but would leave the place at once. [Nga So still lives, and draws a 
pension from the English Government; but he has never professed 
Christianity. — Ed.] 

"16th. — Pah Yeh, one of the assistants, came in to-day from Pan- 
dau, very urgent to have the. steamer, or some boats, go up immediately. 
The Burmans have come down upon one of the villages, and carried off 
the preacher Thah Gay, his son (Shway Xyo, who has been studying 
for some time), and a number of the villagers. Pah Yeh thinks they 
wdll go on, and do the same in other villages. The people are in 
great distress, the Burmans all around them, and they cannot escape. 
Three men came in to-day with a long letter from Nahkee, assistant 
at Khateeyah, two hours this side of Pantanau. The Burmese there 
also are oppressing the Karens worse than ever, and have forbidden 
them to worship God, on pain of death. They have been compelled 
twice to go to the hyoungs, and offer obeisance, if not worship, to the 
priests, and were fined almost to their last pice.. A small schooner 



214 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

had been seen there, and two gunboats. One of the latter was fired 
into, and a man killed. If these things are so, a strong force will 
soon be sent thither from Rangoon. 

"18lh. — A few weeks since, nearly the whole village of Peeneh- 
kweng, below us, on the west side of the river, was swept off by small- 
pox. Twenty-eight died within a few days, the preacher (Kyah 
Gaing) among the rest. Many of the dead were left unburied in their 
houses. Bad news from the north and the east, — the Burmese com- 
ing down in force upon Nga So and his little band of two hundred 
men. Word comes, that, unless they have help from the steamer, 
they will be overwhelmed. 

"20th. — More definite news respecting the movements of the Bur- 
mese. They are coming in three directions, — from Kyounggon, five 
hundred ; from Myau Mya ('?), two hundred ; and from Kyouk 
Khyoung-galay, from six hundred to a thousand. One Karen village, 
Kyongebyin, is already in the hands of the enemy. The Burmans 
surprised them by night, and secured twenty prisoners. The steamer 
went up the river this morning. Meekoo (a student severely attacked 
by cholera) is out of danger, but very weak. All the Karens who 
were helping on the house have returned. It is a time of distressing- 
anxiety. 

" 22d. — Most encouraging tidings from the seat of war. The 
Karens have retaken Kyongebyin by storm. There was a total rout 
of the Burmese. Over twenty were killed on the spot, and the Karens 
are in hot pursuit. The only spring at this place was in the jungle, 
a considerable distance from the village. The Burmese had made 
several attempts to get water; but the Karens were watching, and fired 
on them whenever they came near. Water they must have ; and so a 
captain, with sixty men, was sent for a supply. The Karens attacked, 
routed them, and killed their leader, and immediately made a general 
attack on the village. Shortly after this, two of the Rattler's boats 
went up the Dagah to aid this force, and, in conjunction with two 
hundred Karens, attacked a large body of Burmese at Thabau-ngoo. 
The Burmese fled, leaving almost every thing. Capt. Mellish wrote 
a glowing account of the affair, speaking in the highest terms of the 
bravery of the Karens. We have just heard that the Karens in Labo- 
gala intercepted a party of fifteen men, conveying powder to the 
Burman force in that quarter, a few days since. Eleven of them were 
shot in the boats, and the other four killed with the sword. So much 
for the late unjust proceedings here in relation to prisoners. Forty 



THE KAREN TAKES HIS TURN. 215 

pounds of powder were taken. . . . Formerly Nga So and Lis party 
had but forty muskets : they now have over two hundred. Sah Shway 
in Labogala had but twenty-eight : he now has one hundred. Shway 
Weing tells me that all together some five hundred muskets have been 
taken from the enemy by the different parties of Karens. 

"27th. — The Karens frequently express their gratitude for the 
presence of a teacher. One said this evening, ' Teacher, if you had 
not been here, we could not have staid in the country.' A few days 
since, a man who had just come in from Me-gyoung-t'-yah exclaimed, 
' O teacher ! we come in and see you here, and it makes us very hap- 
py.' And I, for my part, all alone as I have been for the last two 
months, ask not to be anywhere else on earth but in the midst of 
these dear disciples. Among such a people missionary labor is a 
pleasure. 

" Dec. 6. — Have been out, with several of the assistants and 
Shway Weiug, for the purpose of selecting a good site for a Karen 
village near Bassein. Xearly every eligible place is already occupied 
by the Burmese. We have fixed upon a place [Singoung?] about 
four miles below, just a good distance from the city. All seem to 
approve of the choice, and there will probably be a large Karen vil- 
lage there before many months. There is no prospect yet of quiet. 
A large number of refugees came in three days ago, most of them 
from Kyootah, one of the first villages destroyed by the Burmans. 
They brought a number of buffaloes, several canoes, a large ox-cart, 
and a full proportion of little ones. They are all living in our kyoung, 
outside the stockade. I see them generally morning and evening, 
and give medicine and advice to the sick. Three men came in yester- 
day from Shankweng, a long way up the river : they fled from their 
village three days since. They came to inquire whether it would be 
wrong for them to acknowledge the rule of the Burmese, and thereby 
to save their property, especially their paddy, which is now ready for 
the sickle. I told them to return at once, to make their most respect- 
ful obeisance to the mingyee, and be quiet until the English take the 
country. 

"7th. — A schooner is just in from Rangoon. It is seven weeks 
since I heard a word from any part of the world, excepting a short 
note from Sandoway. The days of my loneliness are ended. Brother 
Beecher has come. The captain of the Rattier has very kindly brought 
down three hundred baskets of paddy from a Karen village, respecting 
which I had written him. The great object now is to cut and save 
all the paddy we can." 



21G BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

Mr. Beecher, leaving his family at Kyouk Pyoo, bad started 
for Bassein, vid Rangoon, on the 27th of September. "Writing 
from Rangoon (Oct. 25), he says, — 

" I am happy to be re-assured by Brother Vinton that his views 
respecting the principle of native preachers being supported by their 
own churches are the same as those entertained by the Bassein mis- 
sion, and to hear also, that he has already put his views into practice 
among the churches in Rangoon and in Alaulmain, as far as he has 
been able." 

It is but just to say here that this statement is quite correct 
so far as the Rangoon Karen churches are concerned. Begin- 
ning on this principle, with the deterrent example of his old 
field, and the stimulating example of Bassein to sustain him, 
Mr. Vinton succeeded in establishing that mission on the basis 
of self-support, where it has stood ever since, second only to 
Bassein in that respect. It was not so easy, however, to undo 
the mischief already wrought in Maulmain, as we shall see 
further on. Mr. Beecher writes again from Bassein, on the 
28th of December : — 

"You will rejoice, with us and the suffering Karens, to hear that 
Pegu has been proclaimed British territory. The Commissioner of 
Pegu, Capt. Phayre, kindly sent the mission a copy of the proclama- 
tion, accompanied by a letter, in which he speaks of the Karens as 
follows : — 

" ' / am particularly anxious that your Karen people should receive pro- 
tection, and be put under people of their own race. I hear but one account 
of the Karens from every officer of the force, namely, that on all occasions 
their information has been the best, and their assistance the most hearty. 
We 7nust not forget such good will as has thus been shown us.' 

"This is truly glad tidings, and a day of deliverance to this long- 
oppressed people. Blessed be the Lord, who ' bringeth the counsel of 
the heathen to nought,' whose eye ' is upon them that fear him, upon 
them that hope in his mercy; to deliver their soul from death, and to 
keep them alive in famine.' Were it not for this timely proclamation, 
to be followed up, we hope, with vigorous measures for the suppres- 
sion of the large robber-bands which are now laying waste the country 



THE KAREN TAKES HIS TURN. 217 

on every side, this people must soon have famine added to the other 
horrors of war. But the hand of Providence, which has been so re- 
markably displayed in the preservation of his people during the whole 
war, is now again extended for their deliverance. I find, on careful 
inquiry, that the Karens — in about fifteen engagements fought for the 
defence of their homes, their wives and children — have killed one 
hundred and sixty-five of the enemy, while only three of their own 
number have been killed, and three wounded; and this, although they 
were disarmed by the Burmans at the opening of the war. They are 
still fighting in self-defence; and reports of [skirmishes], with various 
success, come in almost daily. 

" Karens, distressed with fears that their villages will be pillaged 
and their crops burned by robber-bands, come in daily for counsel 
and aid, and to beg that we will intercede with the military and naval 
commanders in their behalf. On returning to my house, after an 
effort to aid them, a few days since, 1 saw at a distance a small com- 
pany, who appeared like Burmans, approaching the stockade. Two 
men were mounted on large ponies, and near them were two others, 
bearing aloft, upon staves ten or twelve feet long, large red umbrellas. 
'jSTone but Burmese captains have such umbrellas as these,' said an 
astonished Karen by my side. They enter the stockade, come around, 
and stop in front of my house. One advances towards me. ' Is it you, 
Po Kway ? And what are these ? ' 

"'It is thus, teacher. Three or four hundred Burmans had stock- 
aded themselves near a Karen village. Eight days ago a detachment 
made an attack on the village very early in the morning, and took 
several women prisoners. The Karens rushed to the rescue as soon 
as they could rally fifty-six fighting men. They came upon the Bur- 
mans while eating their rice, fired upon them, shouting, and brandish- 
ing their swords and spears. The Burmans fled in confusion, but not 
till six of their number were shot down. The women were all res- 
cued; and the men, in returning, took these umbrellas, several muskets, 
swords, and spears, which the Burmans threw away in their flight. 
The ponies also were taken there. One of them lacked a bridle ; but 
the Karen who captured him made the fetters he had wrenched from 
his own feet serve for bits. Ropes completed the bridle ; and the late 
prisoner in irons now rides his enemy's steed. Teacher, we have; 
brought the umbrellas for you and the officers to look at, and do with 
as you like, and the ponies for your use, if you wish them.' One of 
the umbrellas I must keep to commemorate the valor of the Karens; 
and one of the ponies shall henceforth serve their teacher. 



218 BASSEIX KAREN MISSION. 

" Such are the scenes of war in one part of the district ; but in an- 
other, how different! Not two days' walk from the scene just described, 
Thah Gay and Tau Lau, with many of their flock, are in the hands of 
merciless robbers. From day to day the fiends wreak their ven- 
geance on these defenceless disciples of Christ. They are pierced 
with swords and spears, savagely beaten, suspended by their necks 
from trees, and let down just before life is extinct, to recover strength 
for a repetition of the cruel torture. Day after day, and week after 
week, for two dreadful months, do these men thus die daily. Word 
was brought yesterday that they were released from these sufferings 
by death, and that they were strong in faith to the last. The news 
was a mournful relief to our painful anxiety. May this state of 
anarchy, terror, and woe, soon be succeeded by the blessings of peace 
under a firm and just government! 

" Jan. 8. — Annexation was proclaimed in Bassein on the morning 
of the 3d. It was read in three languages to the attentive multitude. 
Twenty-one guns from the stockade, and as many from the steamer, 
thundered forth the decree of a mighty nation. "What various emo- 
tions are awakened in the awestruck crowd ! The soldier is elated 
witli thoughts of glory. The haughty Burman hears in those peals 
the doom of his kingdom and his religion, and trembles. But the 
long-oppressed Karen hears a voice proclaiming liberty to the captive, 
freedom to worship God. Ami. louder than trumpet-blast or can- 
non's roar, the messenger of God hears the voice of his ascended Lord 
speaking to the Christians of his native land, 'Behold, how plenteous 
the harvest, how few the laborers, how wide and effectual the door, 
how few to enter in ! Awake, put on thy strength, O Zion ! Awake, 
and come up to the help of the Lord against the mighty ! ' 

"The imposing ceremony is over ; but the enemy is not yet sub- 
dued. Scarcely has the voice ceased which proclaims Pegu to be 
British soil, and its inhabitants subjects of British rule and protection, 
when news arrives of another conflict between the Karens and the 
banditti. Two Karens have been wounded, and four Burmans killed. 
The lives of the Karens were spared; but five thousand baskets of rice, 
their staff of life, which they had striven long and hard to defend, 
were devoured by the flames. In this hour of distress they come, 
beseeching us to intercede with the Commissioner for protection. 
Their foes are threatening still further devastations. Their case is 
presented, is regarded with favor. Inquiries are made, plans formed, 
and at the appointed hour the steamer starts on its errand of mercy. 



THE KAREN TAKES HIS TURN. 219 

The mind is relieved of a burden of anxiety. Patience, too, whether 
its work has been perfect or not, has had work enough in obtaining 
definite information from natives of indescribable stupidity; and the 
whole frame, in constant excitement for days and nights, needs relaxa- 
tion. The steamer has been gone only a few hours, when Tau Lau, 
only a week since reported to have died under torture, makes his 
appearance, and tells his tale of sufferings, from which he barely 
escaped with life, wounded and naked. 

" Shway No, [Xyo ?] who has been missing two months, and was 
known to have fallen into the hands of robbers, comes as Tau Lau's 
companion. He was redeemed for thirty rupees, and lias since lived 
secreted. They bring word that Thah Gay, too, is still alive, but that 
the tortures he is suffering are worse, if possible, than those of which 
he was reported to have died. He is alive ; but an awful death is 
awaiting him, together with thirty-nine others. They are crowded 
into one prison, and allowed, from day to day, barely food enough to 
prevent starvation. Beneath their prison-floor are piled the fagots 
which are to burn them alive. More than seven hundred rupees have 
been extorted from their friends by false promises of release. Per- 
haps the hope of obtaining more money delays their doom ; but the 
language of the tormentors to their victims more probably expresses 
their real intention, ' We shall despatch you as soon as we can catch 
a few more of you.' Thah Gay is loaded with three pairs of fetters, 
and split bamboos are so applied as to pinch his flesh, from his toes 
to his shoulders. 

" Sad and anxious faces again approach the missionary, and he is 
implored to aid in delivering Thah Gay and his flock from such suffer- 
ings and impending death. Oh for the arm of a Samson ! But help 
can come alone from Him whose arm is not shortened ; and the prayer 
that has been going up in their behalf for weeks is now offered with 
renewed fervor. But faith without works is dead; and, after a night 
of prayer, Tway Po and Myat Keh ask our opinion of this plan : ' We 
have resolved to go in different directions, and, calling together a com- 
pany of our brethren, make an attempt to rescue Thah Gay.' — 'Go. 
And may the Almighty go with you, and grant you success ! ' Muskets 
and ammunition are sought, arrangements are made, and they come 
again to my room. Fervent prayer is offered ; and they go forth, asking 
us earnestly to continue to pray for them. 

" The new order of things imposes heavy duties upon the missionary. 
Crowds throng his house from day to day, plying him, with a thousand 



220 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

questions as to the intentions of the English, their form of govern- 
ment, etc. One company of thirty or forty no sooner depart satisfied 
than another company arrives, equally ignorant, equally curious, and 
equally persevering in trying the strength and patience of the mission- 
ary. The Karens, by their hearty and efficient aid during the war, 
have merited the special favor and protection of the English, and are 
to be under petty magistrates of their own race. Our opinion is sought 
as to who are best qualified for these offices. Thus the temporal as 
well as the spiritual welfare of thousands is affected by our words 
and acts. Who is sufficient for these things? 

u Do Christians in America rightly estimate the importance of their 
mission-fields and the magnitude of mission-interests? Will men of 
influence, of experience and wisdom, who turn a deaf ear to the 
claims of the foreign field, be found guiltless at the last day ? 1 t a 
new college wants a man of learning and practical wisdom for pro- 
fessor or president, he is soon forthcoming, when, perhaps, the wmole 
institution might be blotted from existence, and its proposed work 
be done elsewhere, without endangering half the interests that are 
imperilled at some mission-station for want of that same man to guide 
its momentous affairs. 

" Feb. 5. — The expedition sent to disperse the bands that were 
laving waste the country to the south and east so effectually routed 
the banditti, that the people in that region, under the temporary juris- 
diction of Shway Weing, are now returning to their devastated homes 
in peace. The Karens who thought to release Thah Gay found their 
number too small to make the attempt with any hope of success, and 
gave up the plan. Tway Po returned to Arakan, to bring his family 
and congregation from the unhealthy and unfruitful jungles by the 
sea to the fertile and salubrious plains of Bassein. Other pastors and 
elders from Arakan seek advice as to the wisdom of following his 
example. 

'• The steamer Zenobia, from Maul main, reached this place on the 
20th ult., bringing my family with the Van Meters — all in usual health. 
The steamer's boats and crew, since her arrival, have been actively 
engaged in dispersing the Burmese forces. The first expedition, to 
the vicinity of Pantanau, where the Karens have suffered severely, 
was in every way successful. Ninety Europeans, with their Karen 
allies, gained a brilliant victory over three thousand Burmans; that 
number being swelled by camp-followers to nearly ten thousand. 
Forty were found dead on the field, and two hundred and fifty were 



THE KAREN TAKES IHS TURN. 221 

taken prisoners. We hope that this will prove to be the finishing 
stroke to the war in this district. 

•' Encouraged by news of the near approach of a European force, 
a large body of Karens made a rapid march upon the Burmans, who 
have held Thah Gay and his villagers. They were in time to save all 
but Thah Gay. Two days before the attack of the Karens, the Bur- 
mans fastened him to a cross, and disembowelled him ; when, life not 
being extinct, they shot him twice, and cut his throat. 1 Thus has 
perished a good, faithful, and promising pastor. Nahkee, who long 
lived secreted, has at last escaped from his enemies, and is now with 
us. We hope that the country will soon become settled, and that we 
shall be able to prosecute our labors without interruption." 

On his passage to Maulmain for the ladies and children of 
the mission, Mr. Van Meter, in his little cutter of twenty 
tons, was blown off to sea when almost in sight of Amherst ; 
so that the voyage, which should have occupied but six clays, 
was lengthened to sixteen. Writing (Jan. 27), after their 
arrival in Bassein, he says, — 

" Capt. A. Fytche, our old friend at Sandoway, has been here some 
weeks as deputy commissioner. He is away now with an expedition, 
clearing out two or three places above this which the Burmans have 
long made their headquarters, and which no European force has ever 
succeeded in reaching. A large force of Karens co-operate with the 
Europeans. A bamboo house has been put up on the Catholic com- 
pound since my departure, and we hear that they have quite a large 
attendance of European soldiers. We do not hear of their doing much 
in native work. 

" Since the arrival of the mamas, our kyoung has been full nearly 
all the time, principally of Burman women and children, who have 
their curiosity greatly excited by the presence of two American women 
with their children. Mrs. Van Meter has sat two hours or more each 
day, reading and talking to them in their own language. Even now 
many of them listen with interest to what is said, although the greater 

1 For a sketch of this martyr's death, see Missionary Magazine, October, 
185(5, pp. 888, 389, also Karen Morning Star, May, 1853, pp. 139-142. This 
man is often called Klau-meh. His zeal and success as an evangelist were 
remarkable; and to save his life he would not deny his Lord, even under 
excruciating and long-continued tortures. 



222 BASSEIX KAREN MISSION. 

part, of course, come from mere curiosity. Doubtless willing ears will 
be found to listen for the truth's sake as she acquires greater facility 
in the language. As to the Karen field, we could hardly ask for any 
thing more encouraging. Had a large company last Sunday, includ- 
ing many Karen women." 

From Mr. Beecher's pen we have the following account of 
the first annual association held within the limits of Bassein : — 

"The meeting was opened Feb. 22, and closed on the evening of 
the 25th. Many circumstances combined to render it a season of 
joyful and melancholy interest. The fact that we met, not, as for- 
merly, on the inclement coast of Arakan, at a distance from the homes 
of the Karens and from our own, but in the midst of our people and 
at our own doors, in our own field rescued from the despot and perse- 
cutor, and that we were thus enabled, at its centre, to devise measures 
for the edification of the churches, and the preaching of the gospel 
among the heathen at greater advantage than ever before, was fitted 
to awaken in us all lively gratitude and joy. 

" But a view of the desolations which disease and war have wrought 
among the preachers and their flocks mingled sadness with our joy. 
Seven of the pastors whom we have been accustomed to meet on these 
occasions have gone to their rest. Six fell by disease : the seventh, 
Thah Gay, was the victim of Burmese cruelty, and died, to use his 
own words, 'the death of Christ.' AYhile such a marked providence 
has been displayed towards the Christians, that very few have died on 
the battle-field, we have been called to mourn the loss by sickness 
of 141 members of our communion, and 119 members of Christian 
families, who had not yet received baptism. 

" The recent death of Thah Gay, with all the aggravating circum- 
stances fresh in our minds, the presence of his family, bearing the 
marks of long and bitter suffering, and their tale of woe, told with 
tears and sobs, excited our deepest sympathy and sorrow. Two or 
three of the preachers are still in the hands of a cruel Burman chief, 
about whom we have great reason to be anxious. A few preachers 
were absent through fear of cholera and small-pox, which are begin- 
ning their annual ravages around us ; but it was highly gratifying to 
meet thirty-nine of our brethren in the ministry on this important 
occasion. The work of ruin wrought by the war has been great. 
Twenty-five churches have been scattered, their chapels and villages 



TTIE KAREN TAKES HIS TURN. 223 

destroyed, and in many cases all the personal property of the people 
wrested from them. Great numbers are thus reduced to beggary. In 
two or three townships, providentially, the Karens have been able to 
raise and preserve their usual amount of rice, which, if distributed 
with the Christian benevolence which we expect, will do much to re- 
lieve the destitute. Still there are many who will suffer, we fear, 
after all that we can do for them, from insufficient food, clothing, and 
shelter. The preachers, on this account, will require much more aid 
from the mission this year than they have received for several years 
past. The appropriation, six hundred rupees, when distributed among 
those whose claims are the most urgent, will do but little towards 
meeting their most pressing wants. 

" Perhaps half of the churches that have been scattered are return- 
ing to their former places of abode, and will gather around their 
former pastors. Some of the members will remain where they fled 
for refuge, a part uniting with other churches, and others forming- 
new ones under other pastors. Years must elapse before the churches 
will be as well organized and efficient in supporting the preaching of 
the gospel as they were before the war. We are grateful that we 
have at this juncture a class of ten young men well prepared by their 
studies at Sandoway and Maulmain for ministerial work. Four of 
these are appointed over churches left destitute by the death of pas- 
tors. One was appointed over a new church, which welcomes him 
with the promise of support. His labors commenced with the recep- 
tion of ten members, who were baptized by the ordained brother who 
accompanied, and introduced him to his field. Four others, each with 
an associate, have gone forth as missionaries to the unconverted. 
Two, who have enjoyed fewer advantages in education, but have 
proved themselves efficient laborers, were also appointed to labor 
among the heathen, making six in all, who, with their associates, will 
do missionary work, and be supported mainly by the funds of the 
Karen Home Mission Society. It will be impracticable for them to 
do much during the rains, and probably those who do not succeed in 
so far discipling villages that their constant presence and teaching 
will be required will then pursue their studies with us. 

" There are many thousand unconverted Karens near Bassein, who 
afford a promising field for missionary effort, besides yet greater 
numbers still further away, of whom we know comparatively little. 
One object of those sent forth will be to explore those fields. Besides 
the efforts of those who devote themselves exclusively to mission-work, 



224 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

it will continue to be our earnest endeavor to impress on every pastor 
his duty to labor constantly for the conversion of the heathen in his 
own vicinity. The vast field seems ready for the harvest. The Lord 
has raised up in all fifty-five native laborers to enter in and reap. 
Let prayer be offered unceasingly, that these laborers and their teach- 
ers may be full of the Holy Ghost and of faith, that much people may 
be added to the Lord. 

" The unsettled state of the people during the war, the loss of 
nearly all their books, the interruption of religious services, has been 
attended naturally by many departures from holiness and rectitude. 
Twenty cases of discipline were reported at this meeting, about half 
of which were for violations of the seventh commandment. The 
unsatisfactory manner in which many of these cases were treated 
shows that we have before us a most important work, — to bring 
these converts from heathenism, pastors as well as people, up to the 
Christian standard of discipline. 

" AYe are glad, however, that the dark picture of this year is re- 
lieved by some bright spots. Amid the confusion, the gloom, and 
declension that have attended the war, the life-giving influences of 
the gospel have been felt. During the year twenty-eight families, 
numbering in all about a hundred souls, have professed to abandon 
the worship of nats, and to believe on Christ. These have not yet 
been instructed sufficiently to receive baptism. . . . The pastors feel 
the importance of establishing common schools, and will exert them- 
selves to do this as fast as they recover from the effects of the war. 
The association being in session upon the Thursday set apart in our 
native land for special prayer for colleges, the subject of education was 
brought up, and this custom explained, after which an hour was spent 
in prayer with the Karens for the same objects. 

"Our statistics for 1852 are: churches, 50; baptized, 43; excluded, 
10 ; died, 141 ; whole number of communicants, about 5,000 ; preach- 
ers laboring as missionaries, 6; appointed at the association, 10 ; died, 
7; whole number of preachers, 55; pupils taught in common schools, 
184; in boarding schools, 80." 

Mr. Van Meter adds some particulars respecting the Pwo 
work : — 

" Of the four older assistants, three were present, the foivrth being 
kept away by sore eyes. This was the third time he had been pre- 



TI1E KAREN TAKES MS TCXX. 22.") 

vented from attending by a similar cause. When help was again 
asked for him, I mentioned that this was the third year that he had 
failed to come, and, more than this, that he had sent neither delegate 
nor letter. They immediately began to plead for him, that it was not 
owing to indifference, that he had a large heart, and was very zealous 
in the work of God. I was glad to hear this ; but, to conform to our 
rules, one of them promised to see him on his return, and to send back 
a written account of his labors and the state of his church. I will then 
send him the amount awarded by the committee for the present year. 
The assistants have wrought in their former fields, as far, at least, as 
the unsettled state of the country would allow. They have all per- 
formed more or less missionary w T ork. 

"Thahbwah has been laboring in a new field, nearly east of Bas- 
sein, with much encouragement. He wishes to remain there a while 
longer, until the work is so far advanced, that another with less expe- 
rience can carry it forward, when he will leave for another part of 
his inviting field. Shway Bo started last August for Labogala, but 
was prevented from reaching that place. He then set out for Shway 
Loung, but had hardly entered on his work, when the first battle was 
fought in that region, since which, all has been in confusion. He has 
baptized twenty-two of those for whom Thahbwah had been laboring. 

" Besides these, there are three others recognized as assistants in 
part. One of these, Leh Soung, I saw first in Xovember last. He 
has been for some months acting pastor at Pavbensr. He is a vouna" 
man of much promise, although he has never been in our schools ; has 
a good knowledge of Sgau and of Burmese. He has not yet asked 
for help from the mission. Another, Shway Leng, has been engaged 
most of the year in preaching, and teaching a school of twenty or 
thirty scholars at Kyootah. The third, Pyah Thay, brother to Thaing 
Kyo, has just gone as a missionary to Pandau and vicinity. Ten 
rupees were given him, and will insure him against want for at least 
two months. . . . Tau Lau goes to Pandau also, the district in which 
he resided before the war, and where most of the Pwo Christians have 
been gathered. The two largest Pwo churches were formerly there. 
. . . Another missionary to the Pwos is a young man who has been 
studying in Maulmain. He is a Sgau, but has a good use of Pwo and 
Burmese. He has a heart for the work, and is to go to Keh Boung, a 
long way to the north-east of Bassein, beyond the other assistants. 

" One alone, of all the Pwo Christian villages, escaped the de- 
stroyer. Their paddy, buffaloes, books, and other property, shared 



22G BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

the same fate, except what was carried off hy the enemy. It was not 
at all uncommon, in former years, for paddy to sell at five rupees a 
hundred baskets. Now it is not to be had for less than thirty, and, in 
some places, forty rupees. Its exportation, we hear, is prohibited. 
Still it must continue very scarce until the next harvest, and even 
longer, unless the country is quiet at sowing-time, and the crop equals 
the ordinary yield. We have fears for the people. It will be very 
difficult for many to support their families. Not a few will have to 
depend largely upon charity. We have just prepared an address, 
soliciting aid for the destitute. We hope that it will meet with a 
ready response from the officers, as many of them have expressed 
sympathy for the suffering Karens." 

In April of this year the fighting was supposed to be over ; 
but the rejoicing of the Christians over the return of peace was 
somewhat premature. Nine Karen missionaries were actively 
engaged in preaching among the heathen during the dry season. 
Four Karens were appointed goung-gyouks, or magistrates of 
districts corresponding to our counties, — an office of rather low 
order, but of considerable responsibility. Their names were 
Shway Weing (our old friend, " the young chief"), Nga So, 
Shway Myat, and Kangyee. Several others were appointed 
thoogyees, or tax-gatherers. Thus was the door at once thrown 
open for the long-oppressed Karens to rise in the scale of in- 
fluence and civilization. A friend may be permitted to doubt, 
however, whether the}' were fully prepared at that time to enter 
the door. At all events, the subsequent course of three out of 
the four magistrates was singularly unfortunate. Mr. Beecher 
writes, April 21 : — 

" The war, I said, is past. Yes : the storm has swept by, and in 
the calm that follows we are learning the sad extent of the desti- 
tution, wretchedness, and ruin which it has wrought. Almost daily 
small parties come in from the despoiled villages to implore our aid 
in obtaining rice, to ask our intercession with the government that 
they may be exempted from taxes this year, and to make numberless 
inquiries on points civil, social, moral, and ecclesiastical, to say noth- 
ing of those surgical and medicinal. We have thus constant oppor- 



TIIE KAREN TAKES HIS TURN. 227 

tunities for learning the state of the churches, and for inciting them 
to efforts for the education of their children, and for preaching to the 
heathen. These parties are often composed of heathen Karens, giving 
us good congregations in our own houses. They listen attentively, 
and take tracts and books home with them, that they may there learn 
of the religion we preach. Many of them say that they will worship 
God as soon as they can learn the way. 

" The interest among the Burmans continues unabated. Twice 
have parties come to my room, saying, ' Teacher, we would listen to 
the doctrines of Christ.' On one occasion, being pressed with duties 
to the Karens, I directed a Karen preacher to explain the gospel to 
them, when, as too often, instead of preaching Christ, he began des- 
canting on the folly of idolatry. One of the Burmans immediately 
checked him by saying, ' We know all about our own gods, and modes 
of worship. What we wish, is to learn about your God and the doc- 
trines you believe,' and again desired that the teacher himself would 
preach to them. I need not add that the desire was gratified to the 
best of my ability. It would thus appear that there are those among 
this people who would take the kingdom by violence ; but how much 
is due to mere curiosity, time alone can disclose. A Burmese mis- 
sionary should soon occupy this promising field. 

" I learned last evening of the conversion of four or five families 
at a village about thirty miles east of us. Four or five persons have 
been waiting there several years for an opportunity to be baptized. 
These, with the recent converts, form a company of twenty-five or 
thirty candidates. An ordained pastor will at once go there, and I 
hope soon to report the organization of a church. The man who has 
been instrumental in the conversion of these and many others has 
never been recognized as a preacher, and has studied only enough to 
learn to read; but what he could learn of the gospel he has been 
faithful in making known to others while laboring as a farmer for the 
support of his family. Mau Yay has just returned from a tour to 
the west and south, in which he baptized forty persons, and collected 
thirteen rupees for home missions." 

April 22 he adds this sad intelligence : — 

"A mysterious providence has this morning thrown our whole mis- 
sion into mourning. Our dearly beloved brother, Tway Po, died about 
nine, a.m., of cholera. lie had commenced building' a large village 



228 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

[Kaunee], about four miles north of the town, with very cheering 
prospects, but has thus been cut off in the midst of his usefulness. 
It is also our painful duty to record the death, by cholera, of another 
preacher, Kyau Too. May these afflictions be sanctified to our spiritual 
good and the advancement of Christianity among this people ! " 

To these losses by death was added, before the close of the 
year, that of Nahyah, the valued pastor of the church at 
Ivy oo tali. 

In September was held the first regular meeting of the Bas- 
sein Karen Ministerial Conference, — an institution which has 
proved to be of great value, and which has continued its meet- 
ings every three or four months, substantially unchanged, to the 
present time. As it was a beginning of so much importance, 
we transcribe Mr. Beecher's account of the first meeting: : — 



o 



" The meeting opened on the morning of Sept. 3, and closed on the 
Cth. It was a season of deep interest to ourselves, and we have never 
seen the Karens enter more heartily upon any enterprise than they 
did upon the objects of this gathering. Forty preachers were present, 
a good number of delegates, and, on one occasion, a congregation of 
about five hundred. The first half-day of the conference was spent 
in devotional exercises ; the remainder of the day and evening, in lis- 
tening to oral reports from the preachers, of their labors for the six 
months since the Association. The object in requiring these reports 
was to learn definitely from each his views of their responsibilities 
and duties as pastors, and preachers of the gospel, the manner in 
which they spend their time, and the standard of discipline which 
they endeavor to maintain in their churches. The facts which were 
brought out gave us excellent opportunities for correcting what was 
erroneous, for encouraging and promoting what was right, and suggest- 
ing what was deficient. While it appeared that some of the pastors 
have very inadequate views of their calling, we were much gratified 
by the evidence given that others have a just sense of the sacred 
responsibilities of those to whom are committed the care of immortal 
souls. So in discipline some had been negligent, while the larger 
number had tried to follow the Bible standard in maintaining the 
purity of their flocks. All seemed highly pleased with the plan for 
the pastors thus to meet in conference, and after full discussion voted 
unanimously to meet hereafter every three months. 



TEE KAREN TAKES HIS TURN. 229 

" The meeting of the Home Mission Society [which followed] was 
largely occupied with encouraging reports from the missionaries. Two 
young candidates for the ministry, Kweebeh and Thahpah, on arriving 
in Laymyetnah district, about three days north of Bassein, found that 
the children in some of the villages were anxious to learn to read 
Karen. Their parents, though somewhat averse to it, gave their con- 
sent. One of the young men taught the children, while the other 
preached in the neighboring villages. The children were taught first 
the story of Jesus, and their duty to believe on and worship him. 
They did soon believe, and wished their parents to accept the new 
religion ; but they were told to wait till next year, as they (their par- 
ents) were not ready yet. The children then told the teacher, ' Come 
to us next year, and teach us again ; and, if our parents still wish to 
worship tiats, they may do so, but we will worship God.' Soon after 
they left that vicinity, a Karen family which they had visited professed 
conversion. 

" The society was re-organized by the election of Karen officers. 
More than two hundred and thirty rupees were collected at the meeting, 
wholly the contribution of the churches in a year when the scarcity of 
rice almost amounts to a famine. Four missionaries were appointed 
for the next six months, and others will be appointed as soon as the 
season favors jungle-travelling," 

Mr. Van Meter adds, that, after careful deliberation, it was 
voted to have meetings for prayer and Scripture-reading in the 
village chapels every Wednesday and Saturday evening, also 
that the old custom of meeting in the chapels for worship 
every evening be recommended to those living within a con- 
venient distance. 

At the December meeting, Rev. J. H. Vinton of Rangoon was 
present, and added much to the interest and profit of the occa- 
sion. Myat Keh reported by letter the baptism of seventy-two 
persons since the previous quarterly meeting. Mau Yay had 
baptized sixty, and Po Kway forty, of whom twenty were recent 
converts from heathenism. Eleven missionaries were appointed, 
— two to the Shway Doung field, near Prome ; two to the Hen- 
thada district ; and the others, Mau Yay among the number, to 
labor nearer home. Thus early was the work of foreign mis- 



230 BASSEIN KAHEN MISSION. 

sions definitely entered upon by these churches, which seem 
almost to have reached maturity at one bound, without passing 
through the cradle at all. But another year of war and war- 
like rumors must elapse before the Bassein Christians can fairly 
settle down to the work of the second period of their history, — 
the period of reconstruction and consolidation. 

We close the chapter with our last extract from Mr. Abbott's 
p eDi — a tribute to the memory of his dearly loved Tway Po, 
whom he was so soon to follow to the better land : — 

" T baptized him in 1812, 1 think, at a village in Arakan. He began 
preaching at Ong Khyoung, and I ordained him the second year fol- 
lowing. He was with me a good deal at Sandoway, and constantly 
with me when in the Karen jungles. He was the companion of my 
missionary labors, in travel, in sickness and sorrow, by night and by 
day. He was my counsellor in all matters relating to the organization 
and discipline of the Karen churches. He apprehended the great truths 
of the gospel, the mysteries of redemption by faith in the blood of 
atonement, with a clearness and strength seldom surpassed even in 
Christian lands. His unimpeachable character as a man of prayer 
and of entire devotion to the cause of Christ, his aptness to teach, 
his goodness, his sound judgment, his wisdom in counsel, his capacity 
to govern, his reputation, — 'well reported of by them that were with- 
out,' — his meekness and humility, which covered him as a garment 
of loveliness, — all recommended him as a candidate for the ministry. 

" Tway Po increased in wisdom and knowledge, and in his useful- 
ness as a pastor. He had my entire confidence, and soon won the 
confidence and love, not only of his own church, but of all the churches 
and preachers among the Karen people. When I left Burma in 1S45, 
I relied upon him to take my place. During my absence he and Myat 
Kv;m baptized many hundreds, formed churches, and set over them 
preachers and teachers, as much to my satisfaction as if I had been 
on the ground. Myat Kyau was a man to he respected and esteemed ; 
Tway Po, a man to be also loved. Both were men of unyielding integ- 
rity and unwavering fidelity, and each in his own way was useful to 
the cause of Christ. Translated from the darkness of heathenism 
into the kingdom of God's dear Son, the first ordained among the 
Karens, they both fulfilled the ministry they had received of the Lord 
Jesus with fidelity and honor, and have their reward." 



CHAPTER XII. 

1854. 

" Let me plead for the foreign missionary idea as the necessary comple- 
tion of the Christian life. It is the apex to which all of the lines of the 
pyramid lead up. The Christian life without it is a mangled and imper- 
fect thing."— Rev. Dr. Phillips Biiooks. 

In the early part of the year, nearly all the northern and 
eastern townships of Bassein were again in a state of insurrec- 
tion. Among the more notable of the rebel chiefs, so called, 
of this and the previous year, we find the names of Nga Tee- 
lwot, Nga Thein, Nga Thabon, the Talaing chief Myat-toon, 
Nga Thah-oo, and Hlabau. By his energy and success in 
putting an end to the raids of these emissaries from the court 
of Ava, Major, since General, Fytche, the deputy commissioner, 
distinguished himself, and secured rapid promotion. For his 
official reports of the military operations in Bassein for 1853 
and 1854, in which it appears that the Karens bore an active 
and creditable part, reference may be made to- his work, " Bur- 
ma, Past and Present," vol. ii. appendix B, pp. 221-238. 

The family of Nga So still cherish the following certificate, 
among others, given to their father by Major Fytche and other 
officers. Similar testimonials were doubtless given to the other 
Karen captains, which we have not happened to see. 

Bassein, Dec. 4, 1S60. 

Ko Tso, Myo-ohe of Theegwin, was one of the earliest and most 
zealous adherents of the British Government in this district. On my 
arrival at Bassein, and publishing the proclamation -of annexation, he 

231 



232 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

joined me with a body of some twelve hundred Karens, and assisted 
greatly in driving the Burmese troops out of the district, and in dis- 
persing the marauding bands. He is the only Karen nujo-oke, remain- 
ing out of four which I appointed ou the settlement of the district. 
Ko Tso may always be depended on as a most faithful servant of the 
government in any emergency, and he possesses great influence 
amongst the people of his own race. I have had good reason also to 
be satisfied with [the discharge of] his court duties as myo-oke. 

(Signed) A. Fytche, Colonel, 

Deputy Commissioner, Bassein. 

About this time we first hear of the priests of a new Hindoo 
(?) deity called " Maulay." His worship included offerings 
of money to the priests, with much feasting, dancing, etc. 
This deity was expected soon to make his advent, with all the 
ancestors of his disciples in his train, with all manner of 
worldly and sensual delights for the faithful. These priests 
and their devotees occasioned much excitement, and their pro- 
ceedings began to assume more or less of a rebellious character. 

To add to the confusion and uncertainty, the government 
was now seriously contemplating the removal of the district 
headquarters from Bassein to a place three tides down the 
river, on the west bank, called Negrais, or Dalhousie. The 
removal was actually determined upon. Some lacs l of rupees 
were expended in preparing a site for the new town, landing- 
places, etc., when suddenly a furious storm, accompanied by 
a great tidal wave, so wrecked the place, that the project was 
abandoned. The removal of the mission establishment would 
have followed the success of this measure as a matter of course ; 
and, as it was, some delay in erecting necessary buildings in 
Bassein, and no little uncertainty, resulted. 

Mr. Beecher's account of the interesting meeting of the 
association at Kohsoo was not published, possibly, because of 
the strong ground which he took, as always, on the necessity 
of more extended facilities for education at Bassein than the 

1 A lac is one hundred thousand. 



fa 



THE CHILD BEGINS TO WALK ALONE. 233 

Executive Committee at that time were prepared to grant. We 
give the more important paragraphs : — 

" The year has been one in which many of our brethren have had 
to struggle with the reverses, temptations, and sufferings attendant 
upon war and famine. We are thankful that the great body of be- 
lievers have remained steadfast during this fight of afflictions, though 
we are pained to learn that a few have turned again to the weak and 
beggarly elements of heathenism. The meeting was held, Feb. 18-15 
inclusive, at the large and flourishing village cf Kohsoo [pastor Myat 
Keh's], situated about six miles north-east of Bassein. The prepa- 
rations made by the villagers, and the hospitable spirit manifested 
towards the delegates and visitors, breathed a hearty welcome to the 
anniversary; and the season seemed to be one of sweet social and reli- 
gious intercourse to all present. . . . Fifty churches were represented 
by delegates and letters. Forty-five pastors were present, and eight 
preachers of the Home Mission Society. All of these, and a large 
number of delegates, seemed ready to strive together with one heart 
and mind for the promotion of the great objects of the mission, enter- 
ing heartily into our plans for the evangelization of the heathen, the 
edification of the churches, and the education of their children and 
the ministry. In this harmony, as well as in the greater directness 
and efficiency of the past six months' labors, we would acknowledge 
the blessing of God upon the quarterly ministerial conference. 

" The statistics taken show that three pastors and 218 church- 
members have died, and that forty have been excluded. The num- 
ber of deaths is unusually large ; cholera and small-pox having raged 
with great violence during the year. But what filled our hearts with 
greater sorrow was an event unprecedented in our history, which we 
should shrink from recording, did not fidelity require it. 

" Among the forty excluded persons were sixteen who had turned 
back from the straight and narrow way to dishonest heathen prac- 
tices. In the reverses of the war, they had suffered from their Bur- 
man enemies extortion upon extortion, and cruelty upon cruelty, until 
in the extremity of their wretchedness, to satisfy the cravings of 
hunger, they plunged into a life of plunder and robbery, and are not 
disposed to forsake it, though the circumstances which first led to it 
have passed away. . . . 

" A few bright features. It has been noticed with anxiety in pre- 
vious years, that, while we could report good numbers of baptisms, 



234 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

but few, and in some years not any, of the baptized, were recent con- 
verts from heathenism ; the additions being either from the families 
of church-members, or from converts who had long been waiting for 
an opportunity to be baptized. Cut, by the blessing of God upon the 
labors of the year just closed, we are permitted to rejoice over 200 
converts, who within the year have renounced heathenism, and en- 
rolled themselves among the believers in Jesus. The greater part 
wait to be instructed in the way of the Lord more perfectly. The 
whole number baptized in the twelvemonth is 519. The number 
reported as being now connected with the churches of this mission is 
about 4,300; but there are many other Christians, scattered by the 
war to distant and unexplored regions, whose names would probably 
increase the number to about 5,000. This, it will be perceived, is the 
number that was reported in 1850. The churches, therefore, while 
losing so many by death, have still, in respect to numbers, maintained 
their ground. 

" In order to put this people upon a permanent course of progress, 
. . . greater efforts must be put forth, and better results attained, in 
respect to education. We have been greatly hindered in our efforts 
for common schools, by the unsettled and poverty-stricken state of 
many of the villages; but we are thankful to report 330 pupils in 
common schools, and about 150 in the boarding-school. The whole 
number of pupils again is only about equal to that reported in 1849. 
In regard to education, therefore, we have this year only reached a 
point which had been before attained, from which we have been 
receding for three or four years. But, under the more favorable in- 
fluences which are now rising around us, better results will be shown 
in the year to come. "We feel that this is a subject of vital impor- 
tance to the stability and purity of the churches, and we shall not 
relax our efforts until we see something like an adequate degree of 
progress. Some of our brethren at home have been talking about 
' colleges ' for the Karens. They have far outstripped us in this mat- 
ter, for we should be glad to see schools worthy even of the name of 
academies springing up in our missions. 

" Accordingly we ventured to propose at the association that such 
a school should this year be attempted, and that two or three others, 
somewhat above the ordinary common school, should also be estab- 
lished at points distant from the first and highest. We must wait 
patiently to learn the result ; for new ideas, however carefully planted, 
do not, in the minds of Karens, come to maturity during one meeting. 



THE CHILD BEGINS TO WALK ALONE. 235 

For them to support their children at school in their own village, or 
to send them to the missionary to be supported from foreign sources, 
are ideas which they can understand and appreciate ; but to send 
their children to another Karen village to be taught by a Karen 
teacher, at the expense of their parents, is an idea which must be 
explained and urged again and again, before they will be half as 
ready to pay five rupees for tuition as they are to pay the same for 
tobacco. Nevertheless, when the thing has once taken root, and given 
promise of fruit, it will not be unappreciated or neglected. TvTiether 
we see any thing like an academy this year or not, we expect to see 
common schools of a higher order, and in larger numbers, than we 
should have seen otherwise, and we hope for the day when academies 
worthy of the name, taught and supported by Karens, shall enlighten 
and adorn these provinces. But we meet with serious difficulties at 
the very outset, from the want of suitable text-books, and teachers 
qualified to carry out the plan to success. How these books and 
teachers are to be supplied, to meet the ever-increasing wants of a 
rising people, is a question worthy of more attention than it is receiv- 
ing. If the time has not yet come for establishing colleges among 
the Karens, it is not because thoroughly educated Karens are not 
needed to strengthen these churches, and guide this people in their 
upward course, but because the preliminary steps were not taken 
years ago, or, if taken, were not encouraged and followed up. 

" There is another reason for more vigorous efforts in this direction. 
. . . The Roman Catholics have met with better success in Bassein 
than elsewhere in Burma. Their converts here, according to their 
own statement, number between four and five hundred souls, includ- 
ing children probably. But what is of more serious moment to us is 
the fact that about seventy of their converts were once among our 
own church-members. This falling-away was previous to 1849 ; since 
then, excepting a few who were first excluded from our churches, none 
have been turned away from their faith in Jesus to the worship of 
the Holy Virgin. The check which was given at that time to Romish 
efforts among the converts of our mission must be attributed to the 
more enlightened views of the Bible and the history of the church, 
which were then given to the preachers and teachers in our schools 
and at our general meetings. . . . 

" We need not, brethren, attempt here to show how much we need 
your prayers, your counsels, and your abundant aid, in order that 
the great tree which has already grown from the mustard-seed may, 



236 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

through the increase of enlightened faith and holy love, strike deeper 
and wider its roots while extending its branches. Let it not, through 
the large number of uninstructed and unstable converts, stand in dan- 
ger of being ere long shattered and prostrated by the violence of some 
wind of false doctrine. 

" The available funds of the Home Mission Society for the year 
have been three hundred and sixty-two rupees, besides one hundred 
and twenty-five rupees more contributed at the meeting. Under the 
patronage of the society, the gospel has been preached, during the 
year, in more than seventy heathen villages, in some a second time for 
weeks in succession, and with great encouragement. Eight preachers 
were re-appointed to labor during the coming season. 

" We are encouraged to hope that the churches will this year take 
a still higher stand in regard to the support of their pastors. The 
committee to whom the subject of aiding the feebler churches was 
referred reported only eighteen as needing aid from the mission ; and 
none of these were regarded as needing above fifteen rupees for the 
whole year, and the majority are to receive less. The whole amount 
now thought to be needed for this purpose is two hundred and eight 
rupees, — a little more than one-half of the amount contributed by the 
Karens to the Home Mission treasury in this year of scarcity. Bassein, 
therefore, is now virtually able and ready to support the preaching of 
the gospel within its own borders." . . . 

In March and April, Mr. Beecher made a tour of eighteen 
days among the churches and heathen villages in the northern 
part of his district. During this tour he formed the church at 
M'gay-l'hah. At Shankweng he baptized twenty-two persons, 
and at Shway- nyoung-bin, nineteen. Myat Keh, after a long 
tour among the churches and some of the heathen Pwos south 
of the town, reported the baptism of fifty and the hopeful con- 
version of twenty-eight Pwos. Shway Bo baptized seventeen 
about the same time; and Man Yay, fourteen, — all after the 
meeting of the association. Mr. Beeeher gives an interesting 
account of the quarterly ministerial meeting held in Mohgoo, 
about twenty miles west from the town, May 13-15 inclusive, 
from which we quote : — 

"It was gratifying to find a neat, commodious, and substantial 
chapel just rebuilt. The floor was of saicn boards, as yet quite a nov- 



THE CniLD BEGINS TO WALK ALONE. 237 

elty in Karen villages, though we hear of several churches following 
this example. The people here have suffered little from the war, and 
find themselves able to support Moung Bo, their pastor, entirely, and 
to expend, for Karens, a liberal sum on their house of worship. The 
pleasant contrast between this house and the places where we have 
preached, and called upon the name of the Lord, in heathen villages, 
often led us to repeat, ' How amiable are thy tabernacles ! ' The 
attendance at this meeting was a renewed proof of the deep interest 
which this people feel in the work which we are striving to promote. 
We had feared that they would be so busily engaged in building their 
houses, and preparing for the rains close at hand, that few would be 
present; but we were happily disappointed in meeting thirty-one 
pastors, five or six of the itinerant missionaries, and a congregation 
of more than five hundred on Sunday, besides many who returned 
home on hearing that small-pox had broken out in the village. Letters 
of regret were received from several pastors who could not attend. 

" Saturday, the first day, was occupied with the reports of the pastors, 
and the examination of Tway Gyau for ordination. Our time was 
too limited to allow all the pastors present to speak ; but those who 
were called upon spoke of the exercises of their minds, and their views 
of their calling, with greater freedom and intelligence than ever before. 
At our first conference, nine months since, it was with difficulty that 
some of them comprehended what we meant by asking them to relate 
their Christian and ministerial experience. The contrast at this meet- 
ing was a gratifying proof of their growth in grace and the knowledge 
of Christ. 

" The Christian experience and call to the ministry of Tway Gyau, 
as brought out in his examination, were very satisfactory; but his 
blameless Christian life for fifteen years, and his success as a pastor 
for twelve, were the best proofs of his fitness for ordination. His 
church were unanimous in asking for his ordination, and all of the 
ministers and elders present approved. lie is truly a good man, blessed, 
in a less degree, however, with the same excellent traits of mind and 
character as his lamented brother Tway Po. I spent a sabbath with 
him a few weeks since ; and his house, furnished with tables and 
chairs of his own manufacture, and books bearing marks of faithful 
use, reminded me strongly of what I had seen at the house of the 
beloved and studious pastor of Thehrau. Brethren Mau Yay, Po 
Kway, and Shway Bo (Myat Keh was detained by illness) performed 
very appropriately the parts assigned to them. The silence and atten- 



238 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

tion of the congregation throughout the exercises were marked. The 
same may be said respecting the dedication of the house in which we 
held our meetings, which occurred sabbath morning, — the same day 
with the ordination. We regretted the necessity of crowding so much 
into one day, but could not avoid it without protracting the meeting 
to an extent which the heat, the near approach of the rains, and the 
anxiety of the people to return, would not warrant. This dedication 
is the first that has occurred in Bassein, but will not, we hope, be the 
last. 

" One new church has been formed during the quarter : about a 
hundred and fifty have professed conversion, and a hundred and 
seventy-six have been baptized. Another indication of the progress 
of Christianity and its constant attendant, civilization, is seen in the 
fact that the churches of this mission have now in course of erection 
about twenty chapels and as many schoolhouses. The treasurer of 
the Home Mission Society received a hundred and sixty-three rupees 
during the quarter. Upon making known to the society the request 
of Brother Kincaid for Karen preachers to labor in Prome, two young 
men of excellent character were immediately appointed, and were soon 
on their way." 

Mr. Van Meter, in his tours, which were prolonged through 
the entire hot season, visited seven villages of heathen Pwos 
south-west of the town ; also, on the east, Paybeng, where the 
ordinance of baptism was administered for the first time to 
twenty-three candidates, and two substantial men were set apart 
as deacons ; P'nahtheng and vicinity, where he again set apart 
deacons, and baptized fourteen persons, — one a man reputed 
to be a hundred and eight years old ; and eleven villages in the 
Shway Loung district. The people of one of these villages 
were loyal, but had fallen under suspicion. A Burmese head 
man had been killed somewhat mysteriously. This their enemies 
had seized upon, and made a case of murder. A number of 
their principal men were indicted. 

Mr. Van Meter writes : — 

"I had myself become bail for six, who, not suspecting such a 
charge, had come to town in company with the head man of their 
district. The commissioner finally dismissed the whole affair without 



THE CHILD BEGINS TO WALK ALONE. 239 

a formal trial ; but for the time being they were in great trouble, and 
could think of little else. . . . 

"Many declared their willingness, and even earnest desire, to 
become worshippers at once ; but how could they without a teacher? 
We were completely thronged, at a village in the south part of the 
district, for two days. A company of young men met us before we 
reached the place ; and so anxious were they to have us go to ' the big 
house' (most houses here are small), that they cut a passage for our 
boat a long way up a narrow creek. They then brought presents of 
their choicest kinds of rice. A number expressed an earnest desire 
to learn to read, and a willingness to aid in supporting a teacher. We 
talked, prayed, and sang with them again and again. Our time was 
too limited to reach the village, which had been reported to us as con- 
taining many worshippers ; but we met the young man who had been 
acting as teacher there. We learned from him that most of the people 
had fled, or been carried off by sin all-pox. The head man, of whom 
we had great hopes, was among the first victims. There were but 
thirteen households left of the former twenty-seven. 

" We returned, with the promise and prospect that schools should 
be established in tw T o places. Two young men who spent part of last 
rains with us were the only persons able to read in Pwo. They were 
accepted as teachers, and a support promised them. . . . During the 
whole of this trip the Karens took us from village to village, and 
brought us home. This is a saving to the mission, and aids in culti- 
vating a disposition towards us which it is very essential they should 
have, if we are to do them any good, or they are to be of any use in 
the cause of Christ." 1 

At the second quarterly meeting in August, ' ' Brother Dahbu ' ' 
preached the opening sermon, which, no doubt, was a good one. 
The meetings were excellent, as usual. Seventy-nine baptisms 
were reported for the quarter, and forty-four village schools, 
with eight hundred pupils in attendance, all, with four or five 
exceptions, supported by the Karens themselves. But the great 
step forward, after long preparation and deferred hope, was 

1 The peculiar opinion here expressed was strongly held by Mr. Van 
Meter, and acted upon more or less throughout his course; but it is doubtful 
whether such a policy would contribute to the success of most missiona- 
ries. 



240 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

taken at the meeting in October. We leave Mr. Beecher, tho 
man who did so much to bring about the grand result, to tell 
the story. 

" Bassein, Oct. 29, 1854- — The first three days of this week have 
been occupied with the third quarterly meeting of the Ministerial Con- 
ference and of the Home Mission Society. We have seldom, if ever, 
attended meetings of deeper interest, or greater importance. They 
were held at Naupeheh, about twelve miles in a westerly direction 
from Bassein. About forty preachers were present, including four or 
five of our missionaries. The increasing interest which the Karens 
take in these meetings was manifest in the congregation of about 
eight hundred that gathered on the sabbath preceding the meetings. 
The rising sun of each day saw preachers and people assembling for 
prayer and praise ; and the voice of supplication and singing is in no 
place more pleasant or cheering than in the Karen jungles." 

At the request of the church in Naupeheh, their pastor, 
Tohlo (father of Moung Yahbah, who is known to friends in 
Hamilton, N.Y.), was examined with a view to ordination. 
The examination was very satisfactory, and on Wednesday he 
was ordained; the first prayer being offered by Tway Gyau, 
the sermon by Po Kway, the ordaining prayer by Myat Keh, the 
hand of fellowship by Shway Bo, and the charge by Mau Yay. 
The sessions of the Home Mission Society began Monday, p.m., 
with an instructive sermon by Po Kway, appointed at the previ- 
ous meeting, which was followed by reports of the missionaries. 
We continue the quotation from Mr. Beecher's letter. 

" The measure which we had anticipated with deeper interest and 
anxiety than any other — the accomplishment of which marks a new 
era in the history of this mission, if not in the history of the Union — 
was effected Tuesday morning. Since the time when the preachers 
consented to rely mainly upon their churches for support, we have 
constantly cherished the hope that the day was not far distant when 
these churches would undertake the entire support of native preaching, 
both among churches and the heathen. That day has dawned. It 
was Tuesday, Oct. 24. Believing that the funds of the Home Mission 
Society would warrant such a measure, a committee was appointed on 



TUE CHILD BEGINS TO WALK ALONE. 241 

the previous Saturday to take the subject into consideration. Ample 
time was thus given for entering upon the measure deliberately, and 
with a full understanding of its nature. Myat Keh was the chairman 
of the committee, and presented a resolution, of which the following is 
a translation : — 

" ' We, Brethren Myat Keh, Shway Bau, Oo Sah, and Tootanoo, are 
agreed, that for preachers, pastors, and ordained ministers, we should 
expend no more of the money of our American brethren. So far as there 
is occasion to help support them, we will do it ourselves. But for books 
aud schools we greatly need help, and we request that our dear brethren 
in America will continue to aid us in these things. 

(Signed) ' Myat Keh. Oo Sah. 

Shway Bau. Tootanoo.' 

"A free expression of the views of all present was encouraged. 
Some of the pastors were not without misgivings as to the ability of 
the churches to support both pastors and native missionaries without 
aid from America. But after they learned that the funds of their 
own society were sufficient to meet all the outlay for these objects for 
the past nine months of the 'current year, and leave a balance of 
nearly three hundred rupees in their treasury, and especially when 
they were told of the large deficiency in the treasury of the Union, 
and of the embarrassment which many American pastors meet, whose 
churches contribute, as well as themselves, to the support of Karen 
missions, their misgivings gave way to a conviction of duty and to a 
readiness to undertake to carry out the resolution ; and it was passed 
by a unanimous and hearty vote." 

The vote, no doubt, was apparently " unanimous and hearty ;" 
still, as on a similar memorable occasion in 1849 (see Chap. 
VI.), there was probably a minority who gave up the last hold 
on American support with reluctance ; and it is almost certain, 
in the author's judgment, that the action never would have been 
taken by the native brethren alone, nor without the pressure 
of Mr. Beecher's strong personal influence, exerted right in the 
line with all the teachings of their revered teacher, Abbott. 
Such a leading, controlling influence must be exerted by the 
missionaries, combined with the constraint of a gradual reduc- 
tion, and linall}' an absolute withholding, of appropriations and 
donations from America, before self-support can be expected to 



242 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

prevail throughout our foreign missions. But the action was 
nobly taken, and it is historic. The Karen pastors even now 
refer not infrequently to this meeting at Naupeheh and to the 
resolution which they adopted with fear and trembling. Old 
Shway Bau especially loves to rehearse the trial of his faith 
and the consequent blessing which came to him, somewhat in 
this wise : — 

"When it was announced at the meeting in Naupeheh, that no 
more funds were available for our support from America, my heart 
sunk within me. 1 What should we do? Brother Myat Keh and 
Brother Po Kway, however, said that it was no matter; the Lord 
would provide. Still I was very anxious, and went home much cast 
down. Pretty soon one of the church-members was looking around 
in my house, and saw that the salt jar was nearly empty. The next 
day he came and filled it. Not long after, one of the sisters observed 
that the mats were getting old and ragged, and said that the teacher 
must certainly have some new mats; and the mats came. And so it 
was. There was no lack. Paddy, fish, clothes, and every thing that 
we really needed, was supplied as abundantly as before. And how 
was it about the preaching? Before, we were not fully dependent on 
the churches. In a measure, we were sent and paid by the missionary. 
We felt our importance, and perhaps we put on airs. But, after this, 
we could not help loving our people, and working for their souls." 

Mr. Beecher was hopeful and enthusiastic over the stand that 
had been made, and not without reason, as the far-reaching 
results continue to prove. But some one in Boston either did 
not share his faith to the full, or deemed the expression of it 
impolitic ; for the following paragraph, now restored in paren- 
theses, was suppressed : — 

('' We have therefore the pleasure of informing the Executive Com- 
mittee, that the appropriation of six hundred rupees for the preachers 
of this mission this year will none of it be required, and that we 
confidently hope that there will never again be occasion for making 

1 Shway Bau, it will be remembered, was a member of the very com- 
mittee which valiantly brought in the resolution to dispense with further 
assistance from America. This is his confession, made before the Bassein 
Association in 1870. 



THE CHILD BEGINS TO WALK ALONE. 243 

appropriations in aid of native preaching in Bassein. . . . The meas- 
ure is important, not for the amount of money that will be immedi- 
ately saved ; but the principle developed is big, and bright with 
promise. The child is still many years from maturity when he begins 
to walk alone ; but the future man, resolute in purpose, strong in 
action, is there seen. Time and training only are necessary to de- 
velop all his wonder-working powers.") 

The services closed on Wednesday with the commemoration 
of the Lord's Supper b}' about five hundred communicants. 
One hundred and four baptisms were reported since the previ- 
ous quarterly meeting, and about fifty professed conversions 
from heathenism. Twelve preachers were appointed to labor 
as missionaries for the remainder of the year. We continue 
our quotations from Mr. Beecher's letter. 

" We now learn that the number of schools is forty-three, and of 
pupils eight hundred and thirty-four. Some of these schools have 
been of a higher character, that is, more thorough and extended in 
some studies (especially arithmetic, land-measuring with the cross- 
staff, and Burmese), than at any previous time. The school of the 
highest order [at Kohsoo] has exceeded our expectations. For four 
months it numbered forty-five, and in the fifth month, fifty pupils ; 
while a school of the ordinary class of fifty pupils more was taiight 
in the same village. We have called it an 'academy,' not so much 
because it resembles academies at home, any more than the Karen 
theological seminary resembles [Newton Institution, but because it is 
as much superior to ordinary village schools here as academies at 
home are superior to ordinary common schools, and because the prin- 
ciple of its support is as different. The Karens have shown their 
appreciation of superior teaching by sending from home to this and 
other good schools, at their own expense for board, and, in many 
cases, for tuition, eighty-seven pupils, — a thing never done before by 
Karens, at least in Bassein. In this extension and elevation of our 
village schools, as well as in the support of native preaching by 
native Christians, we rejoice in the realization of hopes long cherished, 
and sought by earnest prayer and labor. 

" At the same time, we are sorry to say that what has been accom- 
plished in the way of schools this season has been done under great 
disadvantages, and the prospect before us is darkened by recent ar- 



244 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

rangements. We find ourselves embarrassed and hindered, from the 
■want of an adequate number and variety of text-books and of prop- 
erly qualified teachers. . . . We see converts and pupils multiplying 
around us, but no adequate provision for the instruction of pastors 
and school-teachers. The boarding-schools for instructing the pastors 
of fifty churches, and the pupils of five thousand communicants, are 
limited by the Deputation to fifty pupils for both Pwo and Sgau 
departments ! 1 The best qualified teachers of the forty-three schools 
of this season have told me that they could proceed with their pres- 
ent classes but little farther, without more study with me, and that 
they were greatly embarrassed for want of books. The average time 
which the Bassein pastors have attended our boarding-schools, as 
appears from statistics carefully taken in February, 1852, is less than 
eight months. Every variety of books now in Karen could, all of them, 
be carried by a man of ordinary strength from Rangoon to Bassein, 
and would gladly be carried by one of only half the zeal of 'the 
young chief,' — when he exposed his life in 1838, for the sake of 
bringing to Bassein a few Christian books, — were it necessary to do 
so, in order to obtain them. . . . 

"Not a month has passed since the return of the Deputation; but 
Karens have already asked me earnestly, if there was no place for 
their children to study English in Maulmain. And, when told there is 
none, they have asked, ' Can we not send them to Rangoon, to Akyab, 
or Bengal?' And, when asked why they were so anxious to have 
their children study English, they have replied, 'In order that a few 
may become thoroughly educated teachers and ministers, and suffi- 
ciently learned to aid us in our efforts to rise from the degradation 
which has so long oppressed us.' 

" The leading and more intelligent Karens are constantly devising 
and suggesting plans for the elevation of their race. I will here 
mention one of many instances that have occurred during the past 
year. At the recent conference, Tohlo came to me and said, 'Teacher, 
I have thought of a plan which I wish to suggest : whether it will hit 
your heart or not, I do not know.' — 'Let me hear it.' — 'It is this. 
Thahree's church do not like their present location. They will come 
to Kyouk Khyoung-gyee and unite with other churches ; so that he 
will not be needed as a pastor. Let him aid you in teaching; so that 



1 Instead of fifty pupils, the Sgau and Pwo boarding-schools in Bassein 
had over four huudred in attendance in July, 1883. 



THE CHILD BEGINS TO WALK ALONE. 245 

you can call a large number of young men to study with you in town." 
— 'But why should not these young men go to the academy, or to 
other good schools ? ' — ' These are all very good, teacher ; but young 
men who study only in the village schools do not amount to much. 
They have not the influence or the character of those who study with 
the missionaries in town.' The fact is one which had escaped my 
observation; but on. looking around I find that there is hardly one 
efficient pastor or school-teacher who has not been made efficient, 
mainly by his training in the boarding-schools. I will only add, that 
the hearts of this people are deeply moved and anxious on the sub- 
ject of education. There is manifested a hungering and thirsting 
for knowledge, and, first and strongest, for a knowledge of God's 
word, which can no more be satisfied with what may be obtained 
through existing arrangements than the famishing soul of poverty 
could be satisfied with the crumbs which fall from economy's table. 

" The Bassein Karens are in constant communication with the 
Karens of Maulmain. Since commencing this letter, I have mailed 
a dozen letters from Karens here to those in Maulmain. Five or six 
of Mr. Binney's best scholars are among our most efficient preachers 
and school-teachers. The other preachers acknowledge their superior 
qualifications; and these young men and other Karens know well 
without information from missionaries, what have been, and what 
now are, the advantages of going to the theological seminary. I shall 
continue to encourage candidates for the ministry to go to Maulmain ; 
and, when they are satisfied that they will enjoy better advantages 
there than at Bassein, they will probably go. 

" It is far from pleasant to reflect upon the doings of the Deputa- 
tion ; but, as a watchman on the walls of our Karen Zion, is it not 
my duty to inform the Executive Committee and the churches, in 
whose hands God has placed so largely the educational as well as the 
religious destinies of this people, of their views, and their aspirations 
after that knowledge without which they know, as well as we, that 
they cannot rise in the scale of Christianity or civilization? 

" In less than nineteen years from the time the Karens of Bassein 
first heard the gospel, they are ready to undertake the entire support 
of native preaching in fifty churches and among the heathen around 
them ; and, except for books and three or four teachers, they are sup- 
porting the primary education of more than eight hundred pupils. 
At this rate of progress, what will be their numbers, their abilities, 
and their educational wants, nineteen years hence? 



246 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

" In connection with these facts, consider, also, the rapidity of con- 
versions and the growth of churches in Rangoon, Shway-gyeen, and 
Toungoo; and let the Baptists of America, in the fear of that God 
who has committed such momentous interests to their hands, inquire 
what are their duties to the present and future Baptists of Burma. 
What do American Baptists wish or expect this people, so remarka- 
ble thus far in their religious history, to become ? What ought to 
be their religious and literary character? Do they wish it to be like 
their own? If so, then why should not a literary and theological 
institution be at once established, which shall rapidly become like 
their own in the variety and extent of the studies pursued ? We can- 
not close our remarks on this subject more suitably than by quoting 
from the report on the Karen missions, read by the Rev. Dr. Ide 
before the Union at Albany. ' Has not the time come for placing 
the educational branch of the Karen missions on a broader and 
more stable foundation? Has not the time come for a more sys- 
tematic endeavor to consolidate these scattered tribes, to give them 
nationality, [?] and, by means of intellectual and spiritual culture, 
elevate them in the scale of social order ? ' " 

111 his extended comments on this letter, the Corresponding 
Secretary has no word of appreciative praise or of thanksgiv- 
ing for the unparalleled step taken by the Bassein Karens. 
Because they have assumed the entire support of their pastors 
and itinerants, he seems to feel that they must be able to sup- 
port all the schools they need. We quote a few sentences, 
which fairly indicate his bearing towards a movement which 
transcended in importance, probably, any other that he was ever 
called to consider. 

" They ask help to support their schools ; but which is easier, so 
far as concerns the readiness of a people, — to educate the young, or 
to support the ministry ? As to plans and views held by Karen Chris- 
tians in regard to schools, or theological training, or the study of 
English, our readers will be at little loss to attach to them their due 
importance, if they consider how limited must be the intelligence to 
which Karens can have yet attained on such topics, and how little 
they are accustomed to form opinions irrespectively of their mission- 
ary teachers." 



THE CHILD BEGINS TO WALK ALONE. 247 

From personal knowledge, the author can testify with cer- 
tainty, that it was the Karens themselves, and not Mr. Beecher, 
who were demanding facilities for English education. It is 
barely possible, also, that the Karen instinct, in this regard, 
had more of wisdom in it than the elaborate judgments of the 
pious and learned brethren of the Deputation. 

In closing the record of this year, we must not omit to men- 
tion that the father of the Bassein mission, Rev. E. L. Abbott, 
passed away on the 3d of December, in Fulton, N.Y., aged 
forty -five. Obituaries may be found in the "Missionary Maga- 
zine " for March, 1855, and March, 1874. 

Mrs. Martha (Foote) Beecher also, who had embarked on 
the Collingwood at Rangoon, in January, with Rev. Mr. and 
Mrs. Benjamin and Miss M. Vinton, to return with her infant 
to America, died unexpectedly on the 3d of March, and was 
buried at sea. She was a good and useful woman, of many 
amiable traits ; and her loss was a heavy one to the mission, as 
well as to her husband. 



CHAPTER XIII. 

1855, 1856. 

" Missionaries of Christ have other relations besides those sustained 
to the Board, and other responsibilities and duties besides those for which 
the Board holds them accountable to itself. It is from another and higher 
source they derive their authority to organize churches, and ordain preach- 
ers and pastors." — Memorial Volume A. B. C. F. M. 

Corresponding to the political turmoil and uncertainty de- 
picted in the last two chapters, was the excitement in mission 
circles, growing out of the action of the Deputation from the 
society's headquarters in Boston. Better men than the Rev. 
Drs. Peck and Granger could hardly have been found in 
America; better intentions than they brought to their work 
could not have been desired : and yet the troubles and heart- 
burnings which followed their visit to Burma are only now pass- 
ing into the dim border-land of forgetfulness. 

A rigid New-Testament ideal of missions, and a slightly 
exaggerated authority on the one hand, a magnifying of " Bap- 
tist principles," and perhaps an extreme sense of personal 
independence on the other, furnished a background for the dis- 
sensions between the Deputation and a minority of the Karen 
missionaries. The contention was sharp and long. Good men 
on either side did not refrain from impugning the motives, if 
they did not impeach the characters, of their opponents. It is 
safe to say. probably, that both were partly right and partly 
wrong. Certainly donors have a right to say how their gifts 
shall be expended. If secretaries and committees are responsi- 
ble to the bodies appointing them, then men sent on the Lord's 

248 



"THE DEPUTATION:' — DEPARTURE OF MR. BEECHER. 249 

missions, even, are in a degree responsible to the human agents 
who send them ; and, if they cannot conscientiously carry out 
the policy of their supporters, they should resign, and seek 
support elsewhere, as Beecher and his associates did. 

The issue would have been more doubtful, had it not been 
for a third party, — English Christians residing in the East, and 
especially the Christian Karens, whose existence and determin- 
ing power would seem to have been, for the time, almost forgot- 
ten by the Deputation. Had not the Karens clung loyally to 
their missionaries, refusing to receive any new men whatever, 
the executive officers and the denomination would have been 
more resigned to the loss of the uncompromising men with whom 
they had to deal. As it was, it cost the society the loss of the 
larger, and by far the stronger, half of the mission churches. 

And what was the gain ? A deserved rebuke was given to 
that show of equality by which the same importance is attached 
to the needs and claims of a circle of ten churches as to one 
of fifty, and to the injustice which would lay down the same 
Procrustean limitations to the schools of long-neglected, up- 
rising Bassein, with its five thousand adult Christians, and to 
Tavoy with its thousand Christians then surfeited with instruc- 
tion and pecuniary aid. The station-schools now range in 
number of pupils from fifty to two hundred and fifty, without 
fear of interference, so long as a due proportion of their sup- 
port comes from local sources. The virtual prohibition of Eng- 
lish teaching is so far removed, that in every mission-school in 
Burma to-da} 7 , English is freely taught, and, in most of them, 
to an undesirable majority of the pupils ; but the error is left 
to correct itself, as it surely will in time. More than all else, 
the watchword, k ' partners, not employees," began to be heard ; 
and the sympathies of the denomination at large were so clearly 
with the missionaries, that a former secretary has written, 
"Coercion, as often as tried, has failed." * 

1 The principle that the station and work of missionaries shall be as- 
signed by the Executive Committee may have received needed emphasis 
by the action of the Deputation, the Committee, and the Board at this time. 



250 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

It is easy to be wise after the event. To us, now, there 
seems to have been but one thing to do when Abbott's health 
failed, and he was compelled to leave the field with no reasona- 
ble prospect of a return ; and that was for Beecher to enter 
into the place and the work which were clearly his by providen- 
tial appointment. He had indeed been sent by the Board to 
Sandoway, but Sandoway was nothing but a back door to Bas- 
sein. For six years he had been laboring, by direction of the 
Board, for the Bassein Karens, and for them alone. When the 
front door was opened wide, when the few churches remaining 
on the coast were leaving: en masse for their old homes in 
Kyouk Khyoung-gyee and Theegwin, why should not their 
teacher follow, and follow promptly? He could do nothiug 
more in Sandoway. The place and the work in Bassein were 
his, and he knew it. Missionary brethren in whom he confided 
urged him to go ; the Karens claimed and called him, and he 
went. But instead of confirming his judicious action, and 
praising him for his zeal, it was thought fit by the officers of 
that day to try him for insubordination. 

It was a grand mistake. 1 A careful perusal of the Karen 

There is also the correlative principle, embodied in the Regulations since 
1859, that changes of fields of labor "shall be matters of negotiation and 
agreement between the committee and the missionaries." But we are un- 
able to see wherein Mr. Beecher had violated either of these principles in 
spirit. His written instructions from the Board, in 1846, contain these 
words: "The designation of Mr. Beecher is to the Arakan Karens and to 
those who connect with Arakan. . . . The Karen aspirants to the ministry, 
who come over the Yoma Mountains that they may learn the way of the 
Lord more perfectly, must not be left to ignorance and vain imaginings. 
So, too, of the multiplied Christian villages and churches in the province 
of Bassein, the present hive of the Arakan Karens. These are all proper 
parts of one diocese. The central point of influence over it remains to be 
ascertained. . . . Mr. Beecher will ultimately, however, and at no distant 
day, remove [from Mauluiain] to Arakan, or to Bassein, if accessible, or 
wherever he shall find the most fitting place for doing his assigned 
work." — Quoted from Beeciieu's Defence, December, 1854, pp. 20, 21. 

1 We have the best authority for saying that Secretary Peck himself 
became convinced finally, that the policy which bore his name was a mis- 
taken one. A letter expressing this was written by him to a friend who 
still lives to adorn one of the highest positions in the Baptist denomina- 
tion of America. 



"THE DEPUTATION." — DEPARTURE OF MR. B EEC HER. 251 

minutes of the Basseiu meetings, annual and quarterly, that 
followed the departure and death of the senior missionary, 
proves conclusively that the Karen pastors and elders desired 
and would have for their leader the man whom they knew and 
loved next to Abbott, and no other. The repeated unsuccess- 
ful attempts to put other men into Beecher's place prove the 
same. That mistake of twenty-five years ago will not be 
repeated ; but how long will it be before the obvious right of 
those seventy-seven self-supporting churches to express a pref- 
erence in the election or the withdrawal of their American 
leaders is accorded? 

Rev. J. L. Douglass and wife, the first Protestant missiona- 
ries to the Burmans of Bassein, arrived Nov. 23, 185-4. As he 
always manifested a deep interest in the Karens, and did no 
little to help them, especially at times when they were without 
a missionary of their own, his name will often occur in the 
course of the following fifteen years. He also had studied 
several years at Hamilton, N.Y. 

The annual meeting of the association was held on the 1st 
and 2d of February, at Kwengyah, the most northern Chris- 
tian village in Bassein, seventy miles above the town. Mr. 
Beecher was the only missionary present. Statistics presented 
at the meeting gave a total of six hundred and forty-four con- 
verts baptized during the year, twenty-two excluded, and one 
hundred and sixty died. A good degree of union and broth- 
erly love prevailed among the churches and preachers. Three 
new churches had been formed within the year, making the 
whole number fifty-three, each of which was supplied with a 
pastor. There were also ten evangelists laboring either as 
missionaries or as school-teachers among the heathen. The 
number of pupils in forty-three village schools was nine hun- 
dred and thirteen. Naupeheh and P'nahtheng were beginning 
schools of a higher class, similar to the one opened a year 
before at Kohsoo. Mr. Beecher relates some incidents of his 
tour to the meetings and beyond. 



252 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

" I left Bassein Dec. 2S, and spent about ten days in visiting Chris- 
tian villages north of the town, on and near the Bassein River. At 
four villages I found converts waiting to make a public profession of 
their faith in Christ, and had the pleasure of baptizing eighty in all. 
About twenty of these are recent converts from heathenism: the others 
have been waiting several years for an opportunity to receive the ordi- 
nance. . . . North of Kwengyah there are numerous heathen Karen 
villages, some of which have given us much reason to hope that they 
would turn from their soul-destroying nat-worship to serve the living 
God. I visited five or six of them last year, and have just returned 
from a tour of about three weeks among them. A circle of sis or 
eight small villages near the borders of Ilenthada had promised the 
preachers, that, if I would make, them a visit, they would build a small 
chapel. Three weeks before my arrival, they had begun the work. 
We were not a little disappointed, therefore, on reaching their place, 
to find the people so far from meeting us in a chapel, that they were 
reluctant to listen to us when we went to their houses. And although 
they entertained us with all hospitality, yet, when pressed to embrace 
the gospel, they told us plainly that they could not do so at this time. 
Thus, after exhorting them faithfully to repent ' while it is called 
to-day,' we were compelled to leave them in their blindness. I have 
since learned, that this sudden change in them was chiefly occasioned 
by rumors that disaffected Burmans were plotting a rebellion against 
the English, and threatening, in case of success, to massacre all white 
foreigners, and all who were found believing and practising the doc- 
trines of the white books. We have abundant reason to believe that 
the gospel which has been preached to this people has made an im- 
pression on their minds, and we hope to hear before long, that many 
in this region have turned to the Lord. While making this tour, I 
was much gratified and aided by the labors of the Karen missionaries-, 
whom T frequently met, and some of whom constantly travelled with 
me." 

The aid asked for the schools of both departments of the 
Bassein mission this year was six hundred rupees for the 
normal school in town, and three hundred rupees for village 
schools. How much, if any. was granted by the society, we 
are unable to state. 

Mr. Bcecher. heart-sore with his heavy domestic bereave- 
ment, and smarting under what he felt to be the unjust cen- 



"THE DEPUTATION:' — DEPARTURE OF MR. BEECH ER. 253 

sure of the Executive Committee, left Bassein, with the formal 
approval of the Basseiu missiou, on the 19th of February, for 
Calcutta, whence he sailed, in the American ship Wisconsin, for 
New York, arriving at that port Sept. 28. Meanwhile, the 
work among; the S°;au Karens of Bassein was left mainly in 
the hands of the native preachers until Mr. Beecher's return. 

The quarterly meeting for May was held at Kaunee, a little 
way above the town. The chapel, enlarged on three sides for 
the occasion, was quite insufficient to accommodate the mul- 
titude. Mr. Van Meter writes that thirty-six preachers and 
over twelve hundred disciples were present. Three additional 
Karen missionaries were sent to aid Mr. Whitaker and Sau Quala 
in Toungoo, making six Bassein men in that most promising 
field. Among them was one who still lives, spoken of by 
Mr. Whitaker as "the faithful Kyoukkeh." These, with two 
in Henthada and two in Prome, made ten foreign missionaries 
from Bassein, besides the laborers in the great home-field. 
The baptisms and contributions were up to the usual average. 
Yoh Po, in charge of the academy at Kohsoo, had one hundred 
and thirty pupils in attendance. Poo Goung at Naupeheh also 
had made a fine start. Besides the work done in these " acad- 
emies," in the town school, and in the usual number of village 
schools, twenty-one young men had gone to Maulmain to study 
the Bible with Dr. Wade, and ten or twelve to Rangoon to 
study English in Mr. Vinton's school, making a total of more 
than one thousand Basseiu }-outh under instruction. 

The meeting at the end of July was held in town, and was 
described as a good one. Eight missionaries were appointed to 
the home-field, and eighteen pastors were aided from the home 
mission treasury to the extent of from five to ten rupees each. 
At this meeting Mr. Douglass had the pleasure of baptizing a 
Burman convert, of whom he writes : — 

" He had frequently heard the gospel from a Karen preacher who 
lives near his village, and who said he had every evidence that the 
man was a Christian. At the close of the morning service on Sun- 



254 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

day, the Burman and a Pwo Karen related their religious experience, 
and were unanimously received for baptism. We went to the water, 
where, in addition to the Karens, about one thousand Burmans assem- 
bled. One of the Karen ministers, who speaks Burman as readily as 
his own language, gave a short discourse on the authority and nature 
of baptism ; and after singing and prayer I administered the impres- 
sive ordinance. The crowd around me, and the solemnity manifested 
by all present, brought vividly to my mind similar scenes enjoyed in 
my native land. These are all I have baptized . . . yet I do expect 
to see a Burman church in Bassein." 

The next quarterly meeting, held tit Mee-th way dike, contin- 
ued four days, and was enriched by the presence and counsels 
of Rev. Mr. Thomas of Henthada. About one hundred ' ; new 
worshippers" were reported, forty-six of whom were Pwos. 
Four missionaries were sent to labor, under Mr. Thomas's di- 
rection, in Henthada district. Other statistics as usual. Several 
cases were brought to the notice of the conference, in which 
native doctors had attributed sicknesses to witchcraft. A cir- 
cular letter of warning and wise counsel was accordingly pre- 
pared by Tohlo, and sent to the churches. Of the time spent 
at this meeting, and in visiting a few of the Bassein churches, 
Mr. Thomas writes, " A more intensely interesting and impor- 
tant week, I never passed." 

The year 185G opens with the annual association at P'nah- 
theng (pastor Po Kway's village), Jan. 21-23 inclusive. The 
usual large number of preachers and people were in attendance. 
Our reporter is Rev. Mr. Van Meter. 

" The interest was heightened by the presence of Brother Brayton 
from Rangoon. Brother Crawley from Henthada came in just at 
the close. Though his late arrival was much to his and our regret, the 
disappointment was in a measure forgotten in the pleasure of a short 
visit with him in our homes at Bassein. 

" Features of peculiar interest attach to this meeting. First, there 
was a larger number of Pwos present than on any similar occasion. 
This was owing to the fact that the place of meeting is further east 
than the places at which we have met formerly, also to a real increase 






"THE DEPUTATION." — DEPARTURE OF 21 R. BEECHES. 255 

of interest on their part. Our three largest Pwo churches are in this 
vicinity, and were well represented. Another peculiar feature was 
the ruling of a native moderator throughout the session. The man 
chosen was Mau Yay, the eldest of the ordained men, who has acted 
in this capacity heretofore for the Home Mission Society. He suc- 
ceeded very well, considering that much of the service was new to 
him. Another was the formal appointment of a committee of laymen 
and preachers to take charge of and disburse the funds of the asso- 
ciation, also to have the power of appointing missionaries, in fact, the 
Executive Committee of the Bassein Home Mission and Preachers' 
Aid Society. 

" They entered upon their duties with any thing but an empty 
treasury, for the money-box required the strength of a man to lift it. 
You must not estimate the contents too highly, however, as our rep- 
resentative of value is the hard metal, and the box held not a little of 
the baser sort. The contributions for the year were Es. 708-11-6. 
Of this amount, nearly one-half, Es. 312-13, was given during the 
last quarter, most of it at the meeting. More than Es. 400 were left 
in the treasury after paying off all claims for the past year. There 
have been paid during the year — to missionaries, Es. 228 ; to preach- 
ers, Es. 93; and, in consideration of the large balance On hand, an 
additional sum of Es. 160 was appropriated at this meeting to aid 
twenty of the more needy preachers. 

" Moreover, the association has now virtually assumed the support 
of the two academies. I had not been able to pay the principals of 
either in full for last year, but I had aided them as our small funds 
would allow. Seventy rupees remained due to one of them, which 
the pastors paid, thus discharging our debt. While we are far from 
undervaluing rupees, especially at this time, we regard the money- 
value of their aid as insignificant in comparison with the cheerful 
cordiality with wh"ch they assume these responsibilities; and more, 
because it is a further development of the principle of self-support, 
which must lie at the foundation of all healthy growth. I have but 
little doubt as to their ability to support all they have now undertaken, 
and that involves, in fact, the relinquishment of their last hold on 
the mission-funds, except for the school at Bassein, and books. The 
school, also, we hope, will be sustained by them principally this year. 
I have advised them to tax themselves for this object to the amount 
of one basket of rice per house ; and most of them have consented 
very cordially, the more so, because the same thing has already been 



256 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

clone by the churches of Rangoon for the support of the school at 
that place. 

" The baptisms for the year were four hundred and five, including 
four Bunnans. The number of Pwos baptized last quarter was 
twenty-nine, perhaps more. New worshippers for the year exceed 
a hundred and thirty, and of this number seventy-three are Pwos. 
New interests have started, and are progressing in several places. The 
new Pwo church at Tee Chai, formally recognized on the first day of 
the year, shows genuine vitality in its growth and fruits, and is a 
glorious memorial of the power of divine grace. I baptized thirty- 
three at the time of organizing the church, and over twenty have since 
been added by baptism. 

" Some of the old churches are more or less unsettled and scattered, 
from the extensive changes taking place in the location of their vil- 
lages. Their great object now is to get eligible situations, on the 
banks of large streams, for the greater facility of trade and travel, 
the necessity no longer existing for them to hide in the jungles. This 
has, of course, been a serious hinderance, especially when, from dif- 
ference of opinion or from other causes, the villages have been divided; 
a part only going to the new locality, the remainder perhaps unable, 
or not wishing, to make the change immediately. Some other diffi- 
culties have marred the peace of individual churches, but nothing 
very serious. By far the most unpleasant event of this kind took 
place in the Kaunee church, deprived, by the death of Tway Po (nearly 
three years since), of one of the most faithful of pastors. A ' lying 
spirit ' entered into one formerly a member of the church. He pre- 
tended to frequent interviews with Tway Po, their deceased pastor, 
at his grave, and finally succeeded in leading the widow entirely 
astray. They were both excluded. Both, however, we are happy to 
say, seem sincerely penitent, and are asking to be received again into 
the church." . . . 

A serious calamity was in store for the missionaries in Bas- 
scin. The old Tcyoung that had sheltered them for four years 
was in au unhealthy situation. They had secured a very eligi- 
ble compound "of some five acres," on the ridge overlooking 
the river, where the circuit bungalow now stands. Messrs. Van 
Meter and Douglass had erected each a dwelling-house of 
moderate cost. Mr. Van Meter had removed, with his family 



"THE DEPUTATION." — DEPARTURE OF MR. BEECHER. 257 

and furniture, to the new house only a few days before a 
fearful conflagration broke out in the town (Sunday, p.m., March 
1G) ; and " within fifteen minutes from the outbreak, our house 
was a mass of blazing ruins. . . . Not a book, a spoon, nor 
even my watch, was saved. All my manuscripts with my library 
are lost. I saved nothing but the clothes on me at the time, 
and Mrs. Van Meter and the children but a handful more." 
The Douglass house and all the mission-property in Bassein, 
except a part of the material prepared for Mr. Beecher's house, 
were likewise consumed. To this succeeded a heavier loss to 
the poor Van Meters. On the Gth of May their eldest daugh- 
ter, Anna, aged seven, was removed by death. She was the 
first of the mission-circle to be buried in Bassein. 

In this time of hardship and loss the Karens most cheerfully 
rallied to the assistance of their American friends ; although, 
to most of them, they were not their own teachers. They 
had themselves come out of the furnace of affliction too re- 
cently, and they had too much of the spirit of Christ, to forget 
their duty. Within a short time they contributed over a thou- 
sand rupees in cash, besides some useful articles, to repair, in 
part, the loss of the two families. 

Of the quarterly meeting in April we have no account, the 
missionaries being prevented from attending by the fire. The 
next was held (July 17-20) at Kyootah, a village already men- 
tioned as devastated by the Burmans during the war. The 
support of the academies was continued. Two hundred and 
forty rupees were given to aid the needier pastors for that 
quarter, besides the regular pay of the itinerants. To crown 
all, by a most cheerful and unanimous vote, a hundred and 
twenty-five rupees were given to the A. B. M. Union towards 
the liquidation of their debt. AVe add Mr. Van Meter's ac- 
count of the ordination services, and his summing up of the 
benevolence of the Bassein churches for the year 1855. How 
would he have rejoiced to know, that, in twenty-five years more, 
the five thousand rupees would become twelve times five thou- 
sand ! Of the candidates ordained, Th'rah Nahpay had been 



258 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

subjected to cruel tortures for bis faitb, from tbe effects of 
which he never fully recovered up to tbe time of bis lamented 
death in 1880. * The other, Th'rab Oo Sab, will be remembered 
as the companion of Myat Kyau in his first great baptizing tour 
in Burma Proper (Chap. V.). 

" Neither of the men ordained is from the schools ; but they are 
tried men, and known of all their brethren. The younger of the two, 
Xahpay, is a preacher and pastor of much promise, and has been 
talked of as a candidate for some time. I gained my principal 
knowledge of his attainments and worth while he was studying with 
us last year. The elder one, Oo Sah, was the first missionary sent 
out from the Bassein churches on the organization of the Home Mis- 
sion Society, in 1850. 

" Before fully deciding to ordain Oo Sah, two or three others were 
mentioned as suitable candidates ; but we found them quite reluctant 
to assume the responsibilities of the office. One, Shway Bau, as to 
whose qualifications his brethren were fully agreed, gave, as his rea- 
son for declining, the fact that his church, and especially the deacons, 
had not yet so learned their duties as to leave him free to do the work 
of an ordained man. ' The honor of the pastor is identical with the 
character of his church,' said he ; and, while having so much to do in 
'serving tables,' he felt that he ought not to undertake the higher 
duties. This he said with strong feeling, which was appreciated by 
his brethren in the ministry. And this, let me say, is where these 
pastors experience their greatest trials, and where they most need 
prayer and sympathy. One of the candidates was examined by the 
native pastors alone. They also took all the exercises of the ordina- 
tion, except the address to the congregation ; and each one performed 
his part well. 

" I have the pleasure of sending you at length a statement of what 
the Bassein churches did in 1S55 for the support of the gospel among 
themselves and for extending its blessings to others. The amount 
contributed shows how their liberality has abounded, and what an 
increase we may expect from them in the future, should no untoward 
influence, no ' root of bitterness ' or division, spring up among them. 

1 For many years the suffering old man never came to town empty 
handed; and he rarely returned without the gift of at least one bottle of 
good Dr. Jayne's Liniment, to mitigate his pains. 



"THE DEPUTATION:' — DEPARTURE OF MR. BEECnER. 259 

Could we get full reports from all the churches, the amount would 
much exceed the figures now given. We report in round numbers, 
where the returns were not complete. 

For Home Mission Society Rs. 721 

For aid of pastors " 700 

For school-teachers " GOO 

For chapels " 1,000 

Aggregate Rs. 3,021 

Besides these, smaller sums have been contributed in aid of poor 
members, etc., and, for the support of their pastors, 3,500 baskets of 
paddy, which has been selling for Rs. 50 per hundred during a large 
part of the season. Let this be put down at a fair valuation, say 
Rs. 1,500, and we have a total of Rs. 4,521. The churches, moreover, 
have paid for books, principally hymn-books and Bibles, from Oct. 
18, 1855, to July 31, 1856, Rs. 430. For the earlier months of 1855 
the record is lost, but it may be safely put at Rs. 50. This will make 
a grand total, for all these objects, of Rs. 5,001. 

"In this connection, we wish to make particular mention of the 
prompt and generous offerings sent us by nearly every church upon 
hearing of our serious loss by the fire of March last. Most of them 
made up and sent in at once what they had to give : others did not 
send in till after some weeks. The total thus given is above a thou- 
sand rupees. Unfortunately, the first hundred and eighty rupees 
of this sum were stolen soon after they came into our hands, and have 
not been recovered. 

" Upon reading the above, you will surely say that the Bassein 
Karens have done nobly. But it may be asked, in return, ' Are they 
not overdoing? May it not be asking too much of them within so 
short a time ? and may it not be a spasmodic effort, that will be fol- 
lowed by a corresponding decrease of contributions for some time to 
come?' Of this we have yet to see the first signs. On the contrary, 
they seem only prepared to do the more. For instance, they have 
given for our buildings, in materials, labor, and cash, upwards of one 
hundred rupees, and for our school in Bassein the additional sum of 
two hundred and thirty-six rupees, besides furnishing all the rice and 
fish that we need. The two hundred and thirty-six rupees were 
given by young men who were employed last season as government 
surveyors. Is there not encouragement here for the friends of mis- 
sions? Is there not occasion for devout thanksgiving to God, who 



2G0 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

can bring good out of evil, that, in this time of trial, his work has 
been so little hindered; that, indeed, this very embarrassment has 
been made, as we believe, occasion of blessing to these churches, in 
leading them to know and feel the obligation and the pleasure of giv- 
ing and doing for Christ and his cause ? In view of these results, we 
can even rejoice, and thank God for the losses and afflictions that have 
so recently come upon us in quick succession ; believing that they are 
not the effects of a blind chance, but the wonderful working of Him 
who doeth all things well, in the great love that he hath for this 
portion of his Zion. 

" While on this subject, let me notice, to the praise of His grace, 
a few items as to the liberality of individual churches. Within a 
few days after the fire the pastor and deacons of the Kohsoo church 
came in, and laid down before us sixty rupees. We declined taking 
so much ; but they insisted, saying that it was sent by many persons, 
as a most hearty freewill offering on their part, in this our time of 
need. This church is giving a full support to their pastor, Myat Keh, 
sustains a good school, etc. Tohlo, the pastor at Naupeheh, said that 
he was away from home ; but, immediately upon learning of the fii'e, 
he hastened home, and was engaged the whole night before coming in, 
in collecting for us. He brought nearly forty rupees. Other churches 
did almost as well. And that this liberality towards us has not hin- 
dered other contributions is evident, we think, from the amount paid 
to the Home Mission Society for the past six months. The Kohsoo 
church alone contributed above fifty rupees [to that society] at our last 
meeting. True, these are among our ablest churches ; but there are 
instances of equal liberality, in proportion to their ability, among the 
smaller ones." 

Again: on the 27th of September Mr. and Mrs. Van Meter 
report their "hands full of most interesting and encouraging 
work." Although three or four Burmese carpenters were still 
employed on their dwelling, they had been able to carry on a 
school of from twenty-five to forty scholars the past two months ; 
the Karens defraying the entire expense of the session, includ- 
ing the cost of the temporary buildings erected for them. The}' 
were to have a short vacation ; after which it was proposed to 
have another session of at least four months, to afford the 
village teachers and others an opportunity for further improve- 



"THE DEPUTATION:' — DEPARTURE OF MR. BEECEER. 2G1 

meut. The instruction was to be given by one of the best 
Karen teachers, under the supervision of the missionaries. 
Mrs. Van Meter writes : — 

" One day this week the Commissioner of Pegu, Major A. P. Phayre, 
spent nearly the whole clay in our school, at his own suggestion, and 
appeared highly gratified. lie wished us to send a subscription-paper 
requesting aid from the residents of Bassein, which he headed with 
a donation of one hundred rupees and a very flattering notice of what 
we are doing. We have in this way received about two hundred and 
thirty rupees. Yesterday he sent us an order exempting from taxes 
all young men who are engaged either as scholars themselves or in 
teaching others for half the year. This will be a great encourage- 
ment, as well as aid, to the Karens. . . . The Commissioner spoke to 
the Karens strongly against meddling with English unless they were 
prepared to give their lives to it, commencing with eight or ten years 
of study. . . . You will rejoice with us, that the Karens are so able 
and willing to help themselves, and also that God has blessed them 
with rulers who care for their interests. My heart was touched last 
evening by a young Karen who lives here iu town, and whose earn- 
ings are twenty rupees a month (with a family to support), handing 
me twenty rupees entirely unsolicited." 

The October meeting was held at Lehkoo, ten or twelve miles 
north of the cit} 7 . We extract from Mr. Douglass's account of 
the services the following : — 

"Saturday morning at sunrise I went into a neat chapel that will 
seat eight hundred persons, built a few months since by this church. 
Within five minutes after I entered, about four hundred and fifty 
members came in to hold their morning prayer-meeting. They com- 
menced by singing an excellent translation of the hymn, — 

' Rock of ages cleft for me, 
Let me hide myself in thee.' 

" As the rising sun appeared, dispelling the darkness, and shedding 
light and comfort around, I thought how beautifully it illustrates the 
moral change which the Sun of righteousness has brought to many 
of this people. Twenty years ago the name of Jesus was unknown in 
all this district: now the dense jungle around us is made to echo with 
the song of praise, and hundreds unite in their petitions at the throne 



262 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

of grace. At half-past nine, a.m., a plain, impressive sermon was 
preached from the parable of the wise and foolish builders (Matt, 
vii. 2-1-27). The remainder of the day was spent in hearing accounts 
of the condition of the different churches, and what has been accom- 
plished since the last meeting. In the evening a sermon was preached 
before the Home Mission Society by one of the ordained brethren. 
It was founded on Rom. viii. 14, and was an able and clear presenta- 
tion of truth, enforced by Scripture illustrations, showing how Paul 
and others were led by the Spirit in preaching the gospel in places 
where Christ was not known. On the sabbath sermons were preached 
by three young men, who, for strength of mind and literary attain- 
ments, stand pre-eminent. They received their theological training 
from Dr. Binney in Maulmain, and are a good illustration of what 
grace and education can do for many of this people." 

Fifteen borne missionaries were appointed ; and the meeting 
closed Monday, p.m., with the administration of the Lord's Sup- 
per to more than eight hundred disciples. 

In the report of the Prome mission for this year we find our 
old friend Maukoh (pp. 26, 29, 3'J) and another Karen preacher 
from Bassein exploring that district on both sides of the river, 
for the purpose of ascertaining the whereabouts of their people, 
and preaching to them. In the journal of that most excellent 
missionary. Mr. Whitaker, under date of Jan. 2, 1857, we get 
a glimpse of what our Bassein men are doing in Toungoo. He 
says, — 

" Lootoo and Klehpo, two of our most efficient preachers, were 
kept at home by severe illness. Kyoukkeh has just returned from a 
tour to the east, in which he penetrated to the eastern limit of the 
Pakus. At Mu-khe, the most easterly district, he found the people 
engaged in mining. The chief of a large village, on hearing of his 
approach, said, 'Let him come up here, and we will make two or 
three holes through him with our spears : if he does not die, we will 
believe him, and worship his God.' Hearing this, Kyoukkeh, true to 
his nature, set out at once for the village. Having arrived, he said, 
' I heard you were going to pierce me with your spears. I am here 
now : if you wish to pierce, pierce. I trust in God, and have come 
to preach his word.' In his emphatic language, ' They were dumb, 



"THE DEPUTATION." — DEPARTURE OF MR. BEECBER. 2G3 

and listened attentively to my words.' He staid with them several 
days. They made fair promises; but he thinks them still undecided, 
and fears, that, on his return, they took to their heathenish customs 
again. Two teachers have since been sent into that district. Kyouk- 
keh has now gone with several others to preach in the region west of 
Toungoo." 

Thus closes the record of two }*ears more of mingled trial 
and blessing in this vineyard of the Lord's own planting. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

1857. 

" Out of utter defeat, it is God's prerogative to bring victory ; and even 
from fratricidal conflict He can bring a higher harmony and good, that had 
else been unattainable." — Anonymous. 

In the report of the Maulmain Karen mission for 1856 we 
find a sad picture of the effects produced on native Christians 
by overmuch temporal help from their missionaries. 

" The churches feel but lightly, as yet, the importance of sustaining 
the institutions of the gospel, schools, etc., among themselves. In 
this respect the churches of this district present a marked contrast 
to those of Tavoy, Bassein, the infant mission of Toungoo, and per- 
haps other fields. But one church has supported its pastor during 
the past year. They seem to have become rooted in the belief that 
the missionary must do every thing for them, and this not only in 
religious matters, but, what is still more trying, in temporal things 
also, it is painful to see how ready they are, in every case of real or 
fancied want or trouble, to come to us. When we have no means of 
helping them, and our judgment tells us that we ought not to help 
them if we could, it is almost impossible to shake them off. They 
will not believe but that 'the teacher' has unlimited resources at his 
command. . . . Most of the pastors have been helped so long, that 
they have lost their early missionary spirit." — Missionary Magazine, 
1856, pp. 256, 257. 

To gain satisfactory- results, native Christians of Asia, as 
well as Christians in the new States and Territories in America, 
must be trained from the first to right views and correct prac- 
tice in regard to bearing their own burdens. The above quota- 

264 



TRANSITION TO THE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 265 

tion is necessary to enable the reader to understand the position 
in which Rev. Dr. Wade and Rev. C. Hibbard found themselves, 
with a theological seminary on their hands, and the oldest circle 
of churches in Burma still clamoring for the daily bread of 
their pastors ; while, through the dissensions that had been 
raised, the mission treasury in Boston was empty, and burdened 
with debt. Something must be done ; and good Dr. Wade, in 
all his fifty years of wise, devoted service, never proposed a 
wiser or more practicable plan than the one we now record. 
If we mistake not, the correspondence throws no little light 
upon the " educatiou question " in Burma to-day. 

The Maulmain Karen mission wrote to the Executive Com- 
mittee in November, 1856, on receiving the schedule of appro- 
priations for that year : — 

"Under these circumstances [the inadequacy of the appropria- 
tions for schools], which a previous letter of yours had led us to anti- 
cipate, we have felt utterly at a loss what to do. It seems impracticable 
to keep up a theological seminary in this expensive place, with the 
appropriations you make to it. It has been strongly suggested to our 
minds, as Rangoon is not open to us, that the school had better be 
removed to Bassein. The Bassein native brethren urge it, promise 
help in feeding and clothing the pupils ; and the prospect is, that a 
lame school would cost the Union less there than a small one here." 



L » 



Meanwhile the mission had addressed a circular to their 
brethren at Bassein and other stations on the expediency of 
the measure, in view of this and other considerations ; to which, 
in due time, answers were given. 

In the following month Dr. Wade wrote again : — 

" With the appropriations you have named for this year we cannot 
continue the school at the rate of expense unavoidable in Maulmain, 
where most of the pupils have to come from a distance, where the 
prices of provisions of all kinds are extraordinarily high, and where 
the native churches can not or will not aid with a single basket of 
paddy, or stick of fuel, without receiving city prices. I therefore 
beg the sanction of the Executive Committee, if my health allows me 
to continue in charge of the school, to remove it at once, before it is posi- 



2GG BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

lively broken up, to a place among the churches where the churches want it 
and will do something for its support [Italicized by the editor], and where 
the expense of the school will be less than here. . . . We have there- 
fore proposed Eassein as the most eligible place, and particularly 
because the churches and pastors there, so far as we can learn, are 
exceedingly anxious that I remove the school thither, and pledge 
their aid in its support, so far as concerns the board of the pupils. 
The expense of new buildings for the school will be, in the minds of 
the committee, I suppose, the strongest objection to a removal ; but 
a theological school of fifty pupils there will in my opinion cost less 
in two years, with this expense included, than here, and, I am inclined 
to think, less in a single year. Here a school of fifty pupils cannot 
cost less than twenty-three hundred rupees. Last year a less number 
(not including the wages of Pahpoo and Shwayhai) cost above two 
thousand rupees ; and the price of provisions, fuel, etc., is constantly 
increasing in Maulmain." — Missionary Magazine, 1857, pp. 386, 436- 
438. 

The views of the several missions on the question raised by 
Dr. Wade's circular, so far as they have transpired, are as 
follows. The Bassein mission, of course, earnestly favored 
the plan. The Maulmain Karen mission advocated the change, 
as we have seen. The Henthada mission, while they thought 
it " desirable and best for the cause to remove the seminary to 
Bassein," were of the opinion, nevertheless, "that the arrange- 
ment should be only temporary," and that the school ought 
eventually to be located at Henthada. The grounds for this 
opinion were stated to be, the greater centrality of that town, 
its superior healthfulncss, and the fact that it would be far 
more favorable to the morals of Karen pupils than any large 
seaport could be. For these three reasons, two of which 
sound strangely to one who knows Bassein, and for a fourth, 
which long since vanished away (viz., that Henthada "must 
always be furnished with doctors, as it is and must be the 
headquarters of a thousand sepo3*s," while the unfortunate 
residents of Bassein will have to seek medical aid " in Dal- 
housie, or at some place still more distant"), it was finally 
decided by the Executive Committee, Dr. Wade at length con- 



TRANSITION TO THE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 267 

curring, to remove the seminary to Heuthada, and that with 
no promise whatever of aid from the churches of that station. 

If, instead of opposing both these plans, Dr. Binney had 
seconded the original plan of Dr. Wade, and gone with the 
seminary to its natural home in the great heart of the Bassein 
churches, — all hungry for just such help as Dr. Binney and the 
seminary would have given them by their bare presence and 
the pursuit of their own special work, — his own usefulness, 
and that of the institution he loved so well, would have been 
trebled. But, not knowing Bassein, he saw not his golden 
opportunity, and for him it passed by forever. 

The report of the annual meeting held at Yaygyau in January 
of this year gives evidence of solid progress, and renewed occa- 
sion for thanksgiving. There was a falling-off in the number 
of baptisms ; but it was the result, perhaps, of greater care in 
instruction, and more strictness in the reception of candidates. 
Among an ignorant people there is always a strong tendency 
to depend more on the outward rite than on faith in Christ, and 
evidence of the new birth. At a meeting of Pwos, held a few 
days before the association, Mr. Van Meter writes : — 

" We received but six from among more than twice that number 
of applicants. Many were disappointed : but we told them, after a 
careful examination, that we dared not at this time receive more; and 
that, so deplorable was their want of knowledge of the first principles 
of the gospel, they ought, for the credit of the Christian name, to be 
better prepared to 'give a reason for the hope that is in them.' For- 
merly this could hardly be expected ; but now books and schools are 
multiplied, and there is not the excuse for ignorance that there once 
was. 

" One new church (Adalouk) is reported, numbering eighteen mem- 
bers, with a congregation of forty or fifty. It is composed of both 
Pwos and Sgaus, and has for its pastor Kwee Beh, one of our active 
and worthy young meu. He studied several years in our mission- 
school, and has since been engaged as a teacher and missionary. We 
could wish the churches had been more earnest in carrying the gospel 
to their heathen neighbors; but, while the funds and disposition have 
not seemed to be wanting, the men to do this work have been far too 



2G8 BASSE IN KAREN .MISSION. 

few. We hope the day is not distant when many of the members, as 
well as all the pastors, will feel a deep individual responsibility in 
this matter, and when it will not be regarded as entirely the work of 
the paid missionary. 

" Most of the churches formerly in Arakan have selected places 
on this side of the mountains, but [a few churches and] a number of 
families remain behind. One of the churches has been severely tried 
through the apostasy of its pastor [Sah Gay, spoken of in the next 
paragraph]. All traces of the tendency towards spiritualism have 
disappeared. The decided measures taken with the first offenders 
seem to have had the desired effect. It was not found necessary to 
cut off others, and even those cut off have since begged to be restored. 

" There has been no increase in the number of preachers during 
the year, if we except those who have just returned from Dr. Wade's 
school at Maulmain. Several of these are now out as missionaries, 
and some of them may be included among the preachers in our next 
repoi't ; but most of them, we hope, will return to their studies. Our 
whole number of pastors and preachers, fifty-nine, is less by four 
than last year. One, an excellent and faithful pastor, has died. Two 
have gone to labor in other fields, — one to Ilenthada, the other to 
Rangoon. One [unordained] has been deposed, Sah Gay by name. He 
had not attended any of our general meetings, and, as might be ex- 
pected, had become alienated from his brethren, fell into sin, and 
finally made shipwreck of his faith. This is a most afflictive event ; 
but it gives occasion for gratitude that such things have been rare 
indeed in the history of this mission. 

" AVhile the contributions to the Home Mission Society have largely 
increased, the direct result of missionary labor is small. Most of our 
young men being engaged either in teaching or studying, but few 
are left for missionary work, except the pastors. About twenty of 
these in all have been out during the year. They visited a large 
number of villages, were well received, and in some places urged to 
return. The number who joyfully and heartily receive the Word is 
small; yet seed has been sown, from which fruit may be gathered 
hereafter. Ten missionaries were appointed at the annual meeting, 
but the late insurrection has been a serious hinderance to them. Six 
of them were brought in as prisoners only a few weeks since, under 
suspicion that they were emissaries of the rebels. The Burman offi- 
cial even went so far in one village as to order all who had listened 
to or received them to be severely beaten. No violence was offered 






TRANSITION TO TEE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 2G9 

to the preachers, and they were released almost as soon as they reached 
Bassein. We are happy to add, that Major Fytche administered a 
severe rebuke in open court to the head man who had seized them, and 
beaten the people. The Karens will know now that the government 
has no sympathy with any such abuse of authority, and that their 
rulers have not the least objection to their becoming Christians. Yet 
there are still many whose common excuse is, that they dare not become 
Christians for fear of the Burmans ; and the most absurd reports and 
falsehoods are so far credited that many dare not allow a ' white-book 
man ' to enter their houses. 

" In two places decided impressions seem to have been made, — 
one in the extreme north of the district, among the Sgaus ; and the 
other east, among the Pwos. Two old men from the former place were 
present at the annual meeting, and seemed deeply interested in the 
proceedings. They both declared, for themselves and their village, 
their full adoption of Christian customs and a determination to abide 
in them. 

"The schools have been well sustained, though the number of 
scholars is less than in 1S55. . . . The serious hinderances occasioned 
in all our operations by the fire, and sickness in our family, and es- 
pecially by the loss of all our school-books, will be apparent on a 
moment's consideration. Even in our town school, as many as two 
or three had to use the same book in more than one class. Thirty- 
nine pupils were in attendance, of whom twelve were pastors of 
churches. Our chief dependence must be, for the present, on what 
can be done in the rainy season." 

The academies continue to prosper. Kohsoo reported ninety- 
three pupils ; Naupeheh, sixty-five, with two young preachers in 
attendance; while P'nahtheng, the youngest, had eighty in her 
school, all the expense of teachers, and aid to youth from other 
villages, being borne by the church in P'nahtheng alone. The 
other two schools drew fifty rupees each from the Home Mis- 
sion Society, and six rupees a month extra for the principal. 
The returns for the year are given by Mr. Van Meter : — 

"Baptisms, 270; new worshippers, 45; communicants, 5,250; 
churches, 51; preachers (ordained, 8), 59; schools, 38; pupils, 8S2. 



270 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 



COXTrtlBUTIONS. 

For the Home Mission Society . 

For support of pastors (cash) 

For support of pastors (paddy, 4,120 baskets) 

For schools, teachers' wages, pupils' board, etc 

For new chapels 

For the poor, cash and paddy . 

For miscellaneous objects .... 



Us. 849-15-10 
" 1,292-15- 6 
" 1,050- 0- 
910- 0- 
" 1,222-15- 
" 192- 9- 
" 1,714-11- 9 

Rs. 7,833 3- 1 



The first quarterly meeting held at the remote village of 
Poclau in March was smaller than usual, but the interest mani- 
fested was fair. Mr. Van Meter writes : — 

" The whole number of baptisms for the quarter is a hundred and 
twenty, of which forty-seven are Pwos. Twenty of these I baptized 
a few weeks since at Tee Hai, the new and growing church in Shway 
Loung district. Forty were baptized at Podau during the meeting, 
many of them from Laymyetna, in the extreme north of Bassein, of 
whom mention was made in our last annual report. The missionary 
has continued to labor among them, and these are the first-fruits. 
The delegation appointed to visit the churches in Arakan report those 
who still remain as steadfast in the faith, and mindful of their obli- 
gations to support gospel institutions. Shway Nyo, one of the two 
pastors who had been remiss in attending the quarterly meetings, and 
reporting their churches, was heard from by letter at this time. The 
other, Sah Gay, deposed at the annual meeting in January for immo- 
rality, we were pained to learn, gave no signs of penitence. 

" Some of the pastors complained of a disposition, on the part of 
a few of their people, to absent themselves from worship without good 
reason. The presence of Burmans in and near their villages, and the 
practice of their heathen customs, is a source of serious annoyance to 
others. This is partly owing to the fact, that now many of the Karens 
are living in much more eligible situations than formerly, on the banks 
of large streams, and near main thoroughfares, and hence are more 
liable to disturbance than when hid away in secluded places. Still 
we tell them they must avoid commingling with the heathen as far 
as possible, by letting it be known that they have selected such and 
such places for themselves, where they wish to dwell in peace and 
quiet as Christians, and by warning off at once all others. 

" There is continued improvement in their houses and chapels. 



TRANSITION TO THE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 271 

They are not only larger, but in many instances have an air of com- 
fort and finish which a few years since was wanting. The substitu- 
tion of sawn timber for bamboo and rough jungle wood is doubtless 
the chief cause of this improvement. 

" The most cheering feature of this meeting was found in the 
reports of the ten or twelve missionaries who have been out during 
the quarter. The year 1856 seemed remarkably barren, but the 
fruit of seed then sown is now beginning to appear. With but one 
exception, all reported cases of hopeful conversion. One says, ' At 
NehyagOn, far north of Bassein, three houses worship.' A young 
man was left there to teach them to read. At another place are some 
twenty worshippers : a teacher was left there also. Two had learned 
to read, and five or six were asking baptism. Shway Bau went over 
nearly the same ground, and found appearances far more encouraging 
than at any former time. Some seven families seem in earnest in 
seeking the kingdom of heaven. A third, Shway Min, labored in 
Theegwin. Two houses, about ten persons, are worshippers. Thah- 
bwah reports, among other encouraging cases, fifteen houses at Bo- 
bay-eng 1 ready and anxious to receive a teacher. Shway Meh, who 
went as far as the Henthada district, reports as the result of labors at 
Kyeikpee five houses of new worshippers." 

The second meeting of the year, held July 3-5, in Taukoo, 
one of the western villages, is briefly reported by Mr. Van 
Meter. 

" This meeting, we believe, will be long remembered by all who 
attended it as one distinguished by the special outpouring of the 
Spirit. I witnessed at this time, what I have so often longed to see 
among the Karens, a melting of hearts before God and one another, 
manifested by simple but earnest expressions of deep and ardent feel- 
ing, confession of sin, and praise to God's rich grace. It was good to 
be there. So many wished to give utterance to then- feelings, that the 

1 For many years favorable reports were brought back by native mission- 
aries visiting this place. The people were pleasant, and ready to receive 
evangelists with hospitality when they came: they would even promise 
to accept the gospel at a more convenient season in the future. Jan. 27, 
1880, the author baptized a man and his wife at this place, so far as he is 
aware, the first and only fruit gathered from the annual visits and some, 
what desultory efforts of over twenty years. 



272 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

[covenant] meeting, which was held till quite late on Saturday night, 
was continued through the greater part of the sabbath, the interest 
increasing to the end." 

This was the last meeting attended by Mr. Van Meter prior 
to his return to the United States. He sailed with his family, 
via England, at the close of the year. Rev. Mr. Beecher and 
Mrs. Helen L. Beecher arrived in Bassein, for his second term 
of service, on the 17th of September. They were hospitably 
received by Mr. and Mrs. Douglass, and he at once set about 
the important work of obtaining a suitable site for the Sgau 
Karen mission compound and the erection of the necessary 
buildings. 

Although various attempts were made to keep up the connec- 
tion between the Sgau churches and the A. B. M. Union, all of 
them failed, and the field naturally passed under the patronage 
and control of the Free Mission Society. In this change of 
relations, which at the time cost so much bitter feeling and 
regret, we can now clearly see the hand of Providence. To 
Mr. Beecher's strong views on the subject of self-support was 
now added the pressure of necessity. The younger society, 
with its smaller constituency, could not do for its missions all 
that the older organization had been accustomed to do ; and thus 
the Karen stripling continued to use and develop his own legs, 
to his own unspeakable advantage. 

The quarterly meeting at Kyun Khyoung, Oct. 2, was attend- 
ed by Mr. Beecher alone of the missionaries. Mr. Van Meter 
sent an unfortunate letter on behalf of his society, the sole 
effect of which was to strengthen Mr. Beecher's position in the 
eyes of the Karens, if indeed it needed any strengthening. 

•Rev. Mr. Thomas having been directed to assume charge of 
the Sgau churches of Bassein in addition to his former field, 
retaining Henthada as his residence, made an important tour 
in the Bassein district in the months of December and January. 
His views and methods of labor differed materially from Mr. 
Beecher's. He was in favor of subdividing the churches and of 



TRANSITION TO THE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 273 

multiplying the number of paid preachers, and to do this he 
would draw largely upon the Christians of America for pecuni- 
ary help. That he was a rare missionary "goes without say- 
ing ; " and the estimate which his journal gives of the condition 
of the Bassein churches at that time is very valuable, though 
perhaps slightly colored by his views of mission policy, and not 
quite accurate in every case. During this tour of two mouths 
and a half he baptized one hundred and eighteen converts, and 
administered the Lord's Supper thirty-four times. We deem 
ourselves happy to find a picture of the Bassein Christian 
villages, and of a missionary's every-day work among the 
people, so graphic as this from Mr. Thomas : — 

"Dec. 10. — This morning retraced our steps to Padin-gyau, 
whence, after breakfast and a short season of devotion, we took our 
course by the foot of the hills to the south. Here, again, all was not 
poetry. We soon entered a swamp, where the mud and water were 
from a foot to four feet deep. It was not until we had struggled on for 
a mile, that I found we were in the midst of a slough not less than 
three miles in length. But there was now no alternative : we must 
go forward. Ere long, the coolies, worn out with fatigue, were fall- 
ing into the water with my luggage. At first I was very careful lest 
I might wet my feet, to prevent which I put myself into an almost 
horizontal position upon my horse. But I found this operation so 
painful, that I was obliged to let my feet dangle in the mud and water. 
So, after a struggle of an hour and a half, we emerged on the south 
side of the slough, the most pitiful appearing objects imaginable. 

" We soon forgot our past trials in view of events to come and in 
contemplating the beauties of nature which were scattered around us 
in profusion. We passed through one populous region of Burmese 
and a few Karens, when we reached a lowly hamlet of five or six 
houses, quite in among the smaller hills. Here we found three bap- 
tized converts and a few candidates for admission into the church. 

" 11th. — I baptized four Karens this morning, who, with the three 
who went a long way to be baptized by one of the Bassein pastors 
last year, form a very interesting company of believers. There is rea- 
son to think that two or three more families will soon join themselves 
to the people of God here. After administering the memorials of 
Christ's dying love to these weak lambs of the flock, we set out for 



274 BASSEIN KAREN MISSTON. 

Kwengyah, the most northern church of the Bassein mission. We 
walked till after sunset, when we reached a large region of heathen 
Karens, many of whom once threw away their foolish, degrading 
customs, only, however, to embrace them again after a short time. 
After preaching and talking, we had but a few hours to sleep, before 
we were again on the road, which we followed until afternoon, when 
we reached a part of the Kwengyah church. I was received with the 
greatest apparent love and joy, no way of showing which being un- 
employed. At evening we came on to the main body of the church, 
where we were made to feel how different the disciples are from the 
heathen, among whom we have been mostly during the last ten days. 

" lfyh. — I bade adieu to Kwengyah, having spent two days with 
the one hundred Christians there. I found no cases of discipline. 
The members seem to be men and women of much maturity of Chris- 
tian character. They are entirely estranged from their former degrad- 
ing customs. They support their pastor, and take a commendable 
interest in education. The missionary spirit they manifest is very 
pleasing. Two or three members of the church are sent out to preach 
to the heathen. The church remember these evangelists in their 
prayers. The pastor of the church [Sau Ng'Too] is a good and able 
minister, with a few unpleasant peculiarities. Yet he tries to magnify 
his office, and might with safety be ordained. But even here one 
would be glad to see an improvement in their houses and in the cloth- 
ing of their children. Yesterday I baptized ten converts, and admin- 
istered the Lord's Supper, which had not been observed here before 
for two years. If this sacred means of grace is neglected thus in 
many places, the ordained men need to be spoken to on the subject. 
( hi the whole, our friends in America may confidently trust in the 
Christian stability of the Kwengyah church. 

"Evening. — I have been with the church at M'gayl'hah about 
half a day, but sufficiently long to learn that they are in a very bad 
state. The pastor was educated at Maulmain. He is a good man : 
he has efficiency, but a very inefficient way of showing it. He is 
heartily discouraged. The members, he says, do not exert themselves 
to send their children to school, nor to attend meeting themselves. 
Some of them have not been seen in the chapel for a whole year. 
Some attend meeting in the morning, but spend the remainder of the 
day in visiting the heathen ; while some have been guilty of more 
serious offences. I am told, moreover, that the better members of 
the church, even, do not seem disposed to take any action in regard to 



TRANSITION TO THE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 275 

the unruly. "Were we to see a person insensible to his condition 
while some of his limbs were actually decaying, we should regard 
him as in a dangerous state. Such are my feelings as to this church. 
I have sent for a neighboring pastor to be with me to-morrow to aid 
me in trying to ' strengthen the things that remain.' I find that here, 
also, there has been a strange neglect of that ordinance which is so 
essential to growth in grace even in America. The Lord's Supper 
has been administered here but once for at least four years. 

"15th. — During the meetings to-day the state of the church ap- 
pears no better. One has been excluded, four refused admission to 
the communion : indeed, more than half of the church have absented 
themselves. It is painful to see how much of a piece every thing 
is here in M'gayPhah. Two young women presented themselves as 
candidates for baptism, but they were not aware that they were sin- 
ners. They could not tell who Christ is, nor whence he came, how he 
died, or whether or not he arose from the dead ; and yet they were 
children of members of this church. I need not add that they were 
not baptized. 1 

" Since writing the above, I have come down the river only an 
hour's sail ; yet all is changed. I am among the members of one of 
the larger churches in Podau. The village [Nyomau] is on a rise of 
land. The houses, all fronting the river, with front yards swept, and 
surrounded with ornamental trees, present an unusually pleasant 
appearance. The deacons [see Shway Bau's own testimony concern- 
ing them, p. 258] who have just called upon me were neatly and 
becomingly dressed, and are men of serious and venerable bearing, 
and appear quite worthy, either here or in any part of the world, of 
the office which they fill. After worship this evening, the pastor, 
Shway Bau, a very capable man, called on me with his family, who 
with others sung sweetly the songs of Zion, and conversed until a 
late hoitr. It is impossible to repeat the conversation : however, I 
feel confident that the gospel has made a deep and saving impression 
in Podau. 

"16th. — I have just left Podau in my little boat. The meetings 
to-day have been full of interest. Nine young persons, of the most 
interesting character, have been baptized. 



1 It is but just to say that this church, with the same pastor, Too Po, 
has stood, for the last twelve years at least, among the best in the district 
for intelligence and piety. 



276 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

" Evening. — We arrived a little after dark in Hseat-thah, where 
there is a small church. The scene has changed again. Appearances 
are less pleasing than in Podau. But discipline does not seem to be 
called for. This church may be described as ' faint,' and very faintly 
'pursuing.' Here were ten candidates, five of whom were rejected 
because they knew nothing of Christ. 

" 18th. — I have been in Yohplau [Shankweng] about twenty-four 
hours. None of the members of this church seem to have offended 
openly, yet there is a want of something. The pastor [Pah Yeh] is a 
man of good abilities, but does not throw his whole soul into the work. 
He exhibits a sad lack of spirituality, and so do the whole church. 
The members are not all worldly: there are some living Christians 
here who seem to have been quickened by the administration of the 
ordinances. To save such churches as this from utter worldliness, 
American Christians need more spirituality, which must be transferred 
to these churches, by the blessing of God, through their missionaries. 
Oh for vital godliness ! 

"19th. — I came on this evening at a late hour to Thrai-oo. Here 
is the headquarters of a large church, say two hundred members ; but 
they are now scattered in three different places, some near the sea, 
over a hundred miles distant. Those present seemed to be benefited 
by the ordinances of God's house. Here I met the daughter of that 
apostolic man, Myat Kyau, the first Karen ever ordained. She is a 
woman of uncommon abilities, but is out of health, and is married to 
a very worthless man. A son of Myat Kyau was so promising, that 
he was sent to Calcutta, at the expense of an English officer, to com- 
plete his education and to study medicine. This had the effect to 
ruin him. He is now, I think, in government employ as an apothe- 
cary, has married a heathen Arakanese woman, and, that he may 
be a perfect gentleman, he drinks brandy, etc., to excess. These are 
the relics of a man who baptized more converts than any one in 
Burma, except, perhaps, Quala. 

"20th. — Sabbath evening. I have spent this day in [Meethway- 
dike], where I spent a week with the missionaries and Karen pastors 
some two years ago. There has been a very large congregation all 
day. Xot a few have come from the nearer churches to listen to the 
Word, and to commemorate the Saviour's love. During the past two 
years this church has increased in numbers, but I fear it has decreased 
in piety. Several of the members have of late visited heathen feasts, 
but they profess penitence. Here is one of the ordained pastors, [Oo 



TRANSITION TO THE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 277 

Sah]. He appears to be an honest man, but of abilities too limited 
to perforin properly the duties of a minister : however, he -will not 
knowingly go astray. 

" 21st. — I have spent this day with a small church. Here, as 
in many other places in this part of Burma, paddy has been almost 
ruined by an excess of water : hence the members are about to try 
their fortunes in another place. It takes but little to put a whole 
Karen village thus upon the wing. They will go to a new region, and 
build new houses, when some disease may break out, and scatter them 
again. The people seemed to be blessed by the word and ordinances 
of Christ. 

u 22d. — Here in Yaygyau is one of the larger churches, and an 
ordained pastor of very decent abilities, [Nahpay]. Here, as in most 
other places, there is a sad want of spirituality. I have seen many 
members of this church in Ilenthada, and have been shocked at their 
disregard of the sabbath : hence my sermon w T as sj:>ecially pointed on 
that subject. 

"28d. — The past night and day have been spent in Kyau-t'loo. 
Here is a small church, which has just expelled from their number two 
members, for the sin of adultery. Yet the church is not destroyed : 
no, most of the members seem to be filled with faith and love. This 
day has been one of the pleasantest of days to me. The members are 
poor, but 'rich in faith.' I was taken by surprise this morning, when 
the elders of the church not only received me with gladness, but even, 
while shaking hands, poured out their souls in praise and prayer to 
God for his goodness in guiding me to them : hence it sometimes took 
ten minutes to shake hands with one. Have baptized five here. 

" 24th. — Have spent the past twenty-four hours at Lehkoo, with 
a large church of about a hundred and fifty members. Here, as well 
as in Kyau-t'loo, the members are not a little dissatisfied with the 
limited power of the church. They are told that the church as such 
can simply expel an adulterer from all church-privileges; that churches 
have no power to fine and flog unruly members, however great their 
offences. Furthermore, to flog a man, unless it be done by the ma- 
gistrate, would be an offence against the government. We urged them 
to consider that to have the hand of fellowship withdrawn by Christ's 
constituted agents, the members of a church, ought to be feared far 
more than the loss of a few rupees, or the infliction of stripes. We 
spent a great part of last night on this subject. 

" 25th. — We are now half a day's row north-west from Bassein 



•27 S BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

town. Received a most cordial welcome from the church in [Kaukau 
Pgah]. Arose early, and went two or three miles to preach to a small 
village of heathen Karens, who listened well. Preached in the morn- 
ing. At noon examined candidates for baptism. Six were baptized. 
Broke bread to a house full of members. Preached again at evening 
to a large number of Christians, several of whom will probably be 
baptized to-morrow. The Christians in this region appear extremely 
well [see pp. 5, 239]. Their pastor, Dahbu, is a very superior man, — 
one of the best, educated in Maulmain. I have been surprised to learn 
to-day that the widow of Ko Thahbyu, the first Karen convert and 
' apostle,' is still living. I have spent considerable time with her, and 
have been much pleased with her cleanly appearance and her appar- 
ent heavenly-mindedness. Not long after Ko Thahbyu died, she came 
to this vicinity; and she says, 'I think I shall remain here until God 
calls me.' I learned nothing new of special interest from this aged 
saint. 1 But as I sat conversing with her about her tours in the Mergui, 
Tavoy, Maulmain, Rangoon, and Arakan provinces, I was affected even 
to tears ; for there rushed into my mind the scenes of my past labors, 
the whole history of the Karen mission, and all the wonders God has 
wrought among this people. ... I dare not baptize in the name of 
Christ persons who know nothing about him. I fear many of the 
preachers neglect too much the gospel, — ' Christ and him crucified.' 

"21 tli. — Sabbath evening. I have spent this holy day in the 
midst of the Christians of [Xaupeheh], one of the western Bassein 
churches. The pastor, Tohlo, has long been ordained. I regard him 
as one of the most able, refined, and reliable ordained men in all 
Burma. He spent a great deal of time with the lamented Abbott.' 2 
He was with him as a student, an assistant in school, and as an asso- 
ciate. He was perfectly acquainted with that servant of Christ; and 
he saw no failings in him which prevent him from loving Mr. Abbott 
as a father, and revering him as a true minister of the gospel. Here 
is the seat of one of the three Bassein academies. I have taken spe- 
cial pains to ascertain the real merits of these schools; and, although 
far from perfection, I am convinced that they are doing a good work. 
The large chapel has been literally crowded all day, and I have 



i She still lives, 1SS2. 

2 It was Rev. J. L. Douglass, I think, who remarked, that for a Karen 
young man to follow Mr. Abbott as a horse-keeper for a year or two was 
equivalent to a liberal education. 



TRANSITION TO TEE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 279 

preached the gospel, with the most precious liberty, from 1 Cor. i. 30. 
The state of things here is very encouraging ; and one feels, while in 
the company of such a pastor and such Christians, that Christianity 
will not soon die out in Bassein. 

" But I have been made sad in the midst of my joys by the intelli- 
gence that Brother Van Meter and family are embarking on the Eng- 
lish ship Fort George, to proceed, via England, to the United States. 
This induces me to leave all for a few days, and go to the town. In 
the absence of Brother Douglass 1 it will be necessary for me to look 
after mission property. 

" 28th. — Reached the city about three, p.m. Found a number of 
large ships lying at anchor, besides a steamer, and, as usual, a large 
number of Chinese and Burmese boats. On landing, I was attracted 
by the houses of Brethren Van Meter and Douglass. They are modest 
structures, but very pleasantly situated. So here I am in the society 
of missionaries. It sounds so odd to hear the English language 
spoken ! 

"Jan. 2, 1858. — I have spent the past two days at Shanywah, six 
or eight miles below Bassein. Here is a small church, rather, the 
chapel of a church, whose members live in three small villages. 
There seems to be but little life either in pastor or people. 2 I have 
done all in my power to quicken them. This has been a lonely place 
in which to pass New Year's — some two hundred miles from my 
family. Yet God is near. 

"4th. — Arrived at Kaunee last evening. I spent the sabbath with 
a larger church, which is in a more encouraging state than the one at 
Shanywah. Yet I find, as in almost every other place in Bassein, a 
want of spirituality. The fact is, we need a revival of religion, oh, 
how much ! 

" 5th. — Returned to town this morning to see Brother Van Meter 
off, also to make arrangements to preserve mission-books, which, if 
left as they now are, will be ruined by rats and white ants in a month 
or two. 

"9th. — I am again in my little canoe, with my face set towards 
the Karen jungles south-west of Bassein. But we make no progress ; 
for the tide has left us stuck fast in the muddy channel of [Tahkeing 



1 Attending his sick wife to Singapore, on her way to America and the 
better land. 

2 This church again, under the able ministrations of Rev. Pohtoo, has 
become one of the very best churches in the Bassein association. 



280 BASSE/N KAREN MISSION. 

Yaygyau]. It is sunset befoi-e the water lifts us out of the mud, and 
there is a good half day's journey before us; so that we shall not 
reach Thehbyu before midnight. 

" 11th. — Spent the sabbath yesterday with the large church at 
[Mohgoo], with apparent profit to the people. In this region the 
Karens are better off than in many other places, and seem grounded 
in the faith. I have walked to-day three miles, and administered the 
ordinances to a very well appearing church of a hundred members 
[Taukoo], and returned again. These disciples, at least many of 
them, are evidently some of the 'holy seed' to whom pertain the 
promises. Isa. vi. 13. 

" 12th. — This day has been spent in trj T ing to unite a church rent 
asunder by dissension. The pastor has left the village, where are the 
chapel and the homes of the main body of the church. He will be 
followed by most of the members. We tried to urge the pastor and 
his party to return with us, and see if all could not be reconciled. 
They declined. They had been told that they must return. One or 
two ordained men had told the pastor that he must return, or leave 
the ministry. He and his party think this a stretch of ecclesiastical 
power. Many of the church are determined to call the pastor to 
another place, and he is as determined to obey that call. Hence, in 
the absence of serious offences, it remains for us to induce them to 
live apart in peace. You will at once see how much this body resem- 
bles too many churches in America. Schisms are not confined to 
Burma : indeed, they seem to be fewer here than they are at home. 

'•13th. — I came on an hour or two, and reached another large 
church [Layloo], whose members seem more nearly like the heathen, 
as far as refinement goes, than almost any other Christians in Bassein. 
The pastor, an old man, and almost entirely without education, told 
me just now that he understood nothing in the Karen almanac which 
I gave him yesterday. It is painful to see men of so little ability in 
such places. But time will enable us, with strenuous effort, to remedy 
this evil. As we pushed off from the shore to-day, many voices called 
out, ' Do come again ; come often ! ' 

'•lJ+th. — Had a pleasant time for twenty-four hours at the village 
of Tway Gyau, another ordained pastor. He is evidently a good 
man, but of few words and of moderate abilities. The disciples here 
also are about to remove to a new place. It is easy to find a place 
to establish any number of new villages, for this country is nearly 
destitute of inhabitants. I have felt pressed in spirit to preach from 
Hab. iii. 2 : ' O Lord, revive thy work.' Let all join in this petition. 



TRANSITION TO THE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 281 

" 17th. — I have been visiting several places where there are a few 
Christians, a few heathen, and also two small churches. At one of 
the latter places, Ng'Kwat, I found the people divided as to where to 
pitch their frail houses. After preaching this afternoon from Heb. 
x. 25, I baptized five, and administered the Lord's Supper. I have 
also visited and given medicine to many who are afflicted with that 
scourge of the land, intermittent fever. I find here, and at several 
other places, young men, who, if they were moved by the Holy Spirit, 
might preach the gospel. But we hear of very few coining forward, 
and confessing, ' Woe is me if I preach not the gospel.' 

" 18th. — Here in Earah Kyee [now Ilsenleik] there was a large 
church : but it has decreased about one-half ; for since the pastor died, 
two years since, the church have not secured another. To-day, with 
great unanimity, a man from the theological school has been chosen. 

u 21xt. — Again in Bassein, having completed the circuit west of 
the city. I am about to leave for a long tour among the eastern 
churches. I expect to continue it by land until I reach my home in 
Henthada. 

" Evening. — Here I am in Kohsoo, one of the most refined Chris- 
tian villages in Bassein. The pastor, Myat Keh, is one of the most 
popular of our ordained men, — a man of great power in exhortation. 
Here is the first academy established in the district. It is cheering 
to see the improved houses, and the general appearance of the village. 
Good chairs are no strange thing here ; while in the house of Yoh Po, 
the teacher of the academy, I see, from where I sit writing, a very 
neatly dressed Karen woman 1 sitting at work in an American rocking- 
chair. 

u 2Jfth. — Spent yesterday in a Pwo Karen village. I have not been 
to a Pwo church before, during this tour. I find here in Kyun 
Khyoung a small one. The members are feeling sad and disheart- 
ened by the departure of their teacher, Van Meter. How many 
times I have been asked by Pwo converts, ' Is teacher Van Meter to 
return? If not, will another man be sent to the Pwos?' I have gen- 
erally answered thus : ' If he does not return quickly, another man 
will be sent to you.' I have given this answer in view of the impor- 
tance of this field. 



1 This intelligent Christian woman is a daughter of the pioneer evan- 
gelist, Mau Koh. The rocking-chair referred to is still in existence, and 
has given rest to many a weary missionary. 



2S2 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

"The Pwo Karens in Bassein are probably more numerous than 
the Sgaus. I have been surprised to find so few heathen Sgaus south 
of the most northern church connected with Bassein. There is one 
populous region of heathen Sgaus just east of the town. It is wide, 
but its inhabitants are few when compared with those of Henthada. 
On the other hand, there are some Pwos in almost every part of Bas- 
sein ; while in the south and along the seacoast there are few Sgaus, 
but a great many Pwos. So, again, to the east from the ocean, along 
by Pantanau, to Donabew and even to Henthada, the inhabitants are 
nearly all Pwos. 

"These Pwos are not hardened above all others. Brother Van 
Meter baptized a number just before he left. There are also six 
little churches already, which need the watch-care and aid of a Pwo 
missionary. Besides, the present is a peculiar time. The Pwos have 
been drawn into difficulty in connection with the < Maulay ' sect. Some 
of them have been shot by government agents, and the rest fear lest 
they may be suspected of belonging to that strange sect : hence, to 
avoid suspicion, they are professing Roman Catholicism in large 
numbers. They have their children sprinkled, and conform outwardly 
to the rules of worship. But it is said that their lives are unchanged. 
I feel an inexpressible weight upon my soul while I write, because at 
this juncture we have no missionary among the Pwos of Bassein. 
Hence this digression. 

"25th. — I have spent this sabbath in Th'mah-t'k'yah [' A Hundred 
Alligators ']. An interesting feature in this church is, that among its 
members are three Burmans. I have already found six Burman 
Christians in the Bassein (Karen) churches. One of these is at pres- 
ent pastor of a small Karen church. I have also seen one Shan 
convert. To-day I have been entreated to baptize a Bengalee. He 
certainly understands enough to be a Christian. But he is a Benga- 
lee, and has no wife. Though he has been in Burma a long time, and 
in this village more than a year, yet one fears some sinister motive. 

«27lh. — Spent yesterday with a new church, where I baptized four. 
After calling at P'nahtheng, arrived to-day at [Kyootah], the place 
where the association meets. The third academy is at P'nahtheng. 
It is not so firmly established as the one at Kohsoo. 

" 30th. — Since the last date I have been engaged day and night in 
the meetings of the association, the Home Mission Society, and the 
Ministerial Conference. These meetings were all mingled together in 
the most indiscriminate manner. I tried hard to have them attend 



TRANSITION TO THE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 283 

to [the business of] one body at a time, but was unable to break over 
their old customs. This irregularity was the cause of fearfully long 
sessions, wearying out most of those present long before the meetings 
closed : hence, while hundreds more were present in the village, the 
meetings (some of them) were thinly attended. Mau Yay was chosen 
moderator. If he is the best Karen for that office, there is not one 
fit for it. However, the meetings were all harmonious, and some of 
them devotional. It is regarded by the Karens as a good meeting. 
The statistics indicate a fair state of religion among the churches. 
The contributions compare well with those of former years. Two 
hundred and fifty-five have been baptized, and some new worshippers 
are reported. 

"31st. — This forenoon was occupied with the ordination of Too- 
thah, the pastor of the church with which we meet. In the afternoon 
I took the lead in the communion-services, and was determined to 
have one service only endurably long. But after we had sung, and 
were ready to leave the house, Mau Yay arose, and begged to say 
a few words. The privilege was granted, of course, and the good 
brother spoke at least half an hour. But his speech was on a very 
important subject, and, though long, was of great interest. 

" Feb. 3. — I left Kyootah early Monday morning for Henthada. 
Our course, for there was no kind of a road, lay to the east and north- 
east. Two whole days we travelled without meeting a .single Chris- 
tian. Indeed, we found but very few people of any kind, and nearly 
all of them were Burmans and Pwo Karens. We invariably stopped 
among the latter tribe, who freely provided us with food, and a sleep- 
ing-place in their houses. They also listened attentively to the gos- 
pel, but seemed not at all inclined to submit to it. Late last evening, 
when every one of us was ill from excessive weariness, we reached 
Emr-trvee, the most southern church of the Henthada mission. It 
would have been agreeable to my feelings to spend most of the day 
in sleep, but there has been too much to do. We have had four 
services, besides examining, and going two miles to baptize, two 
converts." 

As this meeting at Kyootah was felt by all parties to be a 
critical occasion, Mr. Vinton of the Free Mission Society came 
over from Rangoon to sustain his associate, Mr. Beecher. His 
lamented decease occurred very soon after his return. Out- 
wardly the meeting was harmonious, the three American breth- 



284 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

ren being about equally prominent. The oue decisive thrust 
which seems to have determined Mr. Thomas to go directly 
back to his own field after the meeting, aud to have nothing 
more to do with Bassein, was delivered by a Karen, none other 
than the leonine veteran, Man Yay of Kyootoo, who still lives 
to preside, in his own fashion, at the meetings of the Home 
Mission Society. We quote Mr. Thomas's vivid description of 
the scene : — 

" Mau Yay is the oldest of the ordained Karen pastors. He is un- 
usually large, and rather uncouth in his personal appearance. lie has 
but little education, even for a Karen pastor. He is not eloquent, in 
the common acceptation of the term ; yet there is power in his speech, 
for there is soul and common sense in all that he says. He appears 
to be quite ignorant of the fear of man. Hence it is that on all occa- 
sions Mau Yay is put forward as the mouth-piece of his brethren. 

" Fancy, then, this man of the jungles, with turban but ill arranged, 
with two or three coats on (one over the other), with a soiled silk 
handkerchief flung around his neck, containing a little change tied up 
in one end, and his keys attached to the other. The immense congre- 
gation is assured that he has something of importance to say : hence 
all listen attentively while he passes in review the history of the crea- 
tion, of the fall of man, and of the redemption by Christ. The king- 
dom of God must be extended; Satan's head must be crushed. 

"Now, all this is very good in its place; but why does Mau Yay 
rehearse these great truths here and now, seemed to be the inquiry of 
all present. Indeed, it was not until he had nearly exhausted our 
patience, that he brought out his great thoughts; viz., that Karens, in 
order to act well their part in the world's redemption, must be edu- 
cated. He naturally passed from this to the means of obtaining an 
education. With great boldness and force he urged that they, the 
churches of Bassein, ought to call a teacher, not exactly a missionary, 
from America. They were able, he said, to pay the passage of a 
family, and to support that family alter their arrival. He continued, 
'Let the missionaries now in the field give themselves to the work 
of the ministry, and go to the regions beyond ; but let us have a 
family who will remain among us, and instruct our youth in English, 
in Greek and Hebrew ; then may we ourselves hope to understand 
the word of God.' He urged his brethren to act at once, and to act 



TRANSITION TO THE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 285 

unitedly. Said he, 'Let the five thousand Christians of Bassein but 
contribute four annas (twelve cents) each, and the passage-money for 
our teacher and family is paid.' 

" The proposition was unhesitatingly accepted, and all present 
agreed to make the effort at once. I spontaneously arose, and said, 
' Brethren, go on. Your fathers and brethren in America who have 
long labored for your good will rejoice to hear that you can get on 
without their special aid; that they no longer need to watch over their 
mission in Bassein, as a mother over her helpless babe, but that they 
may dismiss you as a well-grown man, able to provide for himself.' 

" These were my sentiments on that sabbath evening, Jan. 31, 1S58; 
these were my sentiments daring my return home ; they are my sen- 
timents now that I am again in this town, the centre of the Henthada 
mission. Brethren of the Missionary Union, with many prayers and 
tears you have sown the seed of the kingdom in the districts of Bas- 
sein and Rangoon. That seed has taken root ; it has sprung up ; it 
is now bearing fruit. You have done your work in the Karen depart- 
ments of those fields. Now, therefore, commend those churches to the 
God of missions, and let them choose and support their own theologi- 
cal and literary instructors. Indeed, let them be just as free in these 
matters as are the churches of New Hampshire and Vermont, but let 
me remain in the Henthada and Tharrawaddi districts, and spend all 
my time and strength henceforth in ti*ying to win these numerous 
heathen to Christ, and to make these churches equal and even superior 
to the churches of Bassein. Help, brethren, by your earnest prayers, 
by your silver and your gold, and, depend upon it, in less than another 
quarter of a century your special aid may also be dispensed with in 
both these wide provinces. 

" Yours in the gospel of Christ, 

"B. C. Thomas." 

This faithful missionary did his best to rescue the heathen 
of Henthada and Tharrawaddi, and to breathe his own earnest 
spirit and warm religious life into the churches of his planting. 
He did his best, doubtless, to use wisely the silver and the gold 
which came to him from the home-land, according to his ex- 
pressed desire. But the snare that was in the lucre was scarcely 
escaped, perhaps, by his people ; nor is the need of special aid 
less keenly felt to-day, perlmps, although the quarter of a cen 



286 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

tury of which he wrote was complete last February. If there 
were, or if there be, in the Bassein Sgau churches any less spir- 
itual life than in other circles of Karen churches, which the 
author strongly doubts, it may be the fault of their overworked 
missionaries : it certainly is not the fault of the system of self- 
help to which they have been so rigorously trained. It may also 
be said, that the greater degree of benevolence developed, and 
their pre-eminent zeal for education and foreign missions, will 
go far to atone for any slight deficiency that some may seem 
to detect in the direction aforesaid. 

In closing the chapter, we must not fail to give the following 
translation of the historic letter which was prepared by the 
Bassein pastors at Kyootah, and sent to the Executive Com- 
mittee of the A. B. M. Union at Boston : — 

" We, the ordained preachers of the churches of Bassein, have re- 
ceived your letter, in which you say that you had compassion upon 
us while we were yet in darkness, and sent teacher Abbott to instruct 
us in the word of God ; and again, that, though teacher Abbott is 
dead, love is not dead, and that you will have more regard for us in 
the future than in the past. You also say that teacher Thomas is of 
like mind and spirit with teacher Abbott, and direct us to receive 
hiin as our teacher. 

" In reply, we are happy to inform you that we have not forgotten 
the great blessing we have experienced through your sending to us 
teachers Abbott and Beecher, and, more, that we never shall forget it, 
or cease to pray that God will abundantly bless you for what you 
have done for us. 

" When teacher Abbott left us, he said to us that Mr. Beecher was 
to become our teacher in his place ; and, when Mr. Beecher left us 
for America, we hoped to receive the additional favor of your send- 
ing him back to us. As you, however, did not send him, another 
missionary society kindly received him, and sent him back to us. "We 
have therefore received favors from both these societies, neither of 
which we can ever forget. 

" You say that you send teacher Thomas to become our teacher, 
and direct us to receive him. As to this, we know not what to think. 
Teacher Thomas wrote and inquired if we would receive him ; and 
we replied, ' Come and visit us, and stir us up in the faith and fellow- 



TRANSITION TO TIIE FREE MISSION SOCIETY. 2S7 

ship of the gospel : coming in this way, we will cordially receive yon.' 
But we also told him that our own teacher, Beecher, having returned, 
we had received him as our teacher, as at the first. What you say to 
us, therefore, respecting teacher Thomas, greatly embarrasses us, for 
the following reasons : — 

"Teacher Thomas has work of his own, and he cannot do Loth 
that and the work here ; and, should he become our teacher, that work 
must go to pieces. Moreover, it will have the appearance of an at- 
tempt to interfere with the work of our teacher, and will greatly per- 
plex the minds of many of the disciples. For ourselves, we cannot 
but regard the two teachers as brethren; and what one does, the other 
should consider as done ; and what the other does, his brother should 
consider as done. Moreover, we have learned through teacher Kin- 
caid that you have decided to invite back teachers Beecher, Vinton, 
and others, in order that all may be one again, as formerly. We do 
therefore greatly rejoice ; for, should the Executive Committee ear- 
nestly invite them to return, it might be the means of uniting the two 
societies in America, and, if not, they would no longer throw obsta- 
cles in each other's way. What one did, the other would consider as 
done, and there would be no interference with each other's work. 

" We think, therefore, that we should receive teacher Thomas only 
as a visiting brother, as we have received teachers Brayton and Yin- 
ton. Beyond this, we do not think that we ought to receive him. 1 

(Signed) 

"Mau Yay. Nahpay. Shway Bo. 

Myat Keh. Oo Sail Toothah. 

Po Kway. Tway Gyau. Tohlo." 

1 There may have been a little ploughing with the Karen heifer; but the 
letter was substantially their own, and its positions were fully indorsed by 
the great body of the Bassein disciples. The one concession which would 
have been most highly prized by the Karens, and which would have done 
more than any thing else to elevate them, and keep them friendly, if not 
loyal to the Union, was to have transferred the Seminary to Bassein, as 
urged by Dr. Wade. Beecher would have co-operated cordially with Dr. 
Binney, but the latter was fated to go and labor for years in a locality 
wbere it was obvious to himself afterwards that he had but a scant wel- 
come. 



CHAPTER XV. 

1858 — 1862. 

" Christianity has been in all its history the patron of sound learning. 
It has gone teaching all nations. The light of knowledge has followed it 
around the world, as the light of day the sun. It can hold men only by 
going before them; and the narrowest policy of missions ever conceived is that 
Christianity can employ preachimj , but not the school. "When a people become 
Christian, they next call for education, and they will fall to those who 
furnish it for them. Without education, religion itself runs out." — Presi- 
dent Samson Talbot. 

In returning to Burma, Mr. Beecher clearly apprehended the 
great want of the Christian communities in Bassein to be in- 
creased facilities for Christian education. Up to that time 
they had enjoyed but twenty-six years of labor from foreign 
missionaries, including Abbott's period of service, Van Meter's, 
and his own. Twenty years of that labor had been done at 
arm's-length ; the missionaries being shut up between the moun- 
tains and the sea, in remote Arakan, where but a few scores of 
the people could see them for a small part of the year. Six 
years only of white man's time had been given them in Bassein 
itself. Other stations had received more thousands of dollars 
in aid of schools and preachers than theirs had received hun- 
dreds. While the villages of Maulmain and Tavoy had received 
lonsr visits from their numerous missionaries, more than half 
of their chapels had never been entered by an American 
kt teacher." They had indeed escaped the evils of petting and 
superfluous aid ; but the substantial benefits of Christian light 
and training — full rations of the very bread of life, and full 
draughts of the water of life — were beyond their reach. True, 
288 



NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE BEGUN. 289 

many of them could read ; but what had they read ? They had 
learned to worship, to pray, and to sing ; but how well? Very 
partially, indeed, had the love of God and the light of life 
supplanted the slavish fear of Satan's hosts and the darkness 
of death. 

Improved facilities for Christian education is what Mr. 
Beecher sought, and his successors still seek, for that people. 
"We emphasize the adjective ; for no extension or improvement 
of facilities for secular education offered by an enlightened, 
but, in religious matters, necessarily neutral government, can 
lessen our obligation to aid in providing for the children of our 
converts the religious atmosphere and training of positively 
Christian and Baptist schools of an advancing grade. To give 
over the brightest and most aspiring of our Christian youth to 
the moulding influence of irreligious, neutro-religious, or Boodh- 
istic masters and text-books for eight or ten years at the most 
plastic period of life, in the hope that we can subsequently, at 
Sunday services and (for a few of them) in distinctively theo- 
logical schools, renew the lost impress of early lessons, may 
be tried, if you will, iu America ; but in Burma the experiment 
will be a failure, and the outcome worse than vanity and vexa- 
tion of spirit. To leave, moreover, as we are still doing 
among the Karens and Telugus, a larger majority of the chil- 
dren of converts to grow up in ignorance and superstition than 
does any other missionary society of which the author has 
knowledge, is to incur sooner or later a fearful penalty. To 
the duty and direful necessity thus laid upon us, the missiona- 
ries, and even the half-enlightened Christian parents of Bassein, 
have been from the first more keenlv alive than the best of their 
friends in the far-off laud of schools and churches. 

Mr. Beecher, therefore, in communicating to the Executive 
Committee the conditions * under which he would be willing to 
return to his field under their auspices, frankly wrote : — 

1 " 1. That I shall return to Bassein, and perform the same work that 
I undertook at my first appointment; and in this work of preaching the 
gospel, superintending native churches, raising up a native ministry, and 



290 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

" In regard to the first condition, I would say the great object to 
which I intend to direct all my energies, and employ all the means 
placed at my disposal, is, not merely to Christianize the Karens, but 
to bring the converts forward as rapidly as possible to that high state 
of intellectual and religious culture which shall enable them to go 
forward in their growth and in the support of religious and literary 
institutions, independent of foreign aid. 

" In order to prosecute the work successfully, I deem it necessary 
that I should not be required to follow out in detail any routine of 
measures which the Executive Committee shall prescribe; but while 
I shall not feel at liberty to exceed the appropriations, nor to divert 
them from the object for which they are designated, yet with regard 
to the number of pupils who shall be instructed in the normal and 
other mission schools, and the course of instruction to be pursued, I 
shall expect a large liberty, only promising that the funds of the 
Union shall not be used to support pupils studying English, unless 
by specific permission of the Executive Committee." 

Considering the fact that a powerful attempt had been made 
to keep him out of his appointed field of labor, and that an 
official letter had passed him on his homeward voyage, recalling 
him from the field, on the strength of unfriendly representations 
which he had had no opportunity to meet, his conditions seem 
to us not unreasonable ; but they were rejected. Coming out 
as he did, unfettered, under the auspices of the Free Mission 
Society, he addressed himself manfully to the important work 
which he had planned, in the face of many obstacles. With 
the narrowest resources, he had a poor but united and enthusi- 



educating the Christian population, I shall be left unrestricted, except by 
the aggregate of the annual appropriations of the Executive Committee. 

" 2. No permanent change shall be made in the place or kind of my 
labor, except by mutual consent. 

"3. The Executive Committee shall not dismiss or recall me unless 
I shall have had an impartial hearing by my associates, and have been 
pronounced by them unworthy of my standing. 

"4. Any statement communicated by any one on the mission-field to 
the Executive Committee or executive officers, injurious to my Christian 
or missionary character, shall be immediately made known to me, or the 
paper containing such statement be returned uncopied to the author." 



NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE BEGUN. 291 

astic people at his back. "With the blessing of God on their 
help, he may yet accomplish great things. 

The position which Mr. Beecher occupied at this time was a 
proud one, and his victor}^ was assured. Chosen by the Karen 
Christians for what he was, and not for what he might bring ; 
with no bag of American money for monthly or quarterly dis- 
tribution among the preachers ; with no funds even for the sup- 
port of teachers or needy children in his schools ; his whole 
power and influence due to the weight of his personal character, 
to the truth which he may draw from the word of God, to the 
teaching and the examples which he may cite to them from 
the Christian civilization of his own land, and, above all, to 
the gracious help of the Holy Ghost, who had called hkn to this 
very work, — he proceeded to lay the foundations of Christian 
institutions, and to mould and develop the people, whom he 
loved, for God, depending solely upon the pecuniary help of the 
poor, and such local aid as might offer. It is painful to see 
how few missionaries of the present day are content to occupy 
just such a position. 

The first work of the missionary was to secure a suitable 
piece of ground for the mission establishment and a large 
boarding-school. As the government had at last given up the 
plan of removing the district headquarters to the mouth of the 
river, land was more difficult of acquisition. For the Karens, 
however, a location somewhat removed from the heart of the 
town would be preferable. The credit of selecting the present 
beautiful and sightly Sgau Karen compound clearly belongs to 
Mrs. H. L. Beecher. Others thought that "White Book Hill " 
(Sahbyugon), as it is now called, was too far from the town, 
or too far from the river. There was no road to it. There 
would be danger from tigers, robbers, etc. Besides, it was an 
old Burman burying-ground, and many Karens feared that they 
would be pestered by ghosts. But one fine morning the ponies 
were mounted, and the hill was reached by a circuitous route 
through the potter's village. Mrs. Beecher favors us with some 
interesting reminiscences : — 



292 BASSEIX KAREN MISSION. 

"The whole place was covered with scrubby jungle, and was unin- 
habited and neglected. A Karen boy climbed a tree, and declared 
that he could see the river. Altogether our visit satisfied us that it 
would be the best place for a large school, and so clearing and build- 
ing were begun immediately. The beginning, like that of many 
good works, was under great difficulties. It was the time of the com- 
mercial panic in America, and it was very difficult to get money for 
the work, or for any thing else. I remember that one Saturday night 
we had no money to buy the necessary food for Sunday even, when a 
friendly Chinaman came, and lent us quite a sum of money, without 
interest or security. Indeed, we had many proofs of the Lord's care 
over us. We had hardly moved into our new house, and it was by no 
means finished, when a terrible cyclone swept over the city, and tore 
down nearly all the houses both of the natives and the Europeans. 
Our thatch all stood straight up, and we had to hold our umbrellas 
over our heads. I remember well, how, during that anxious night, 
Mr. Beecher called me to kneel with him, and I cannot forget the 
fervent and trusting petition that he presented, that our house and 
those mission-buildings might be spared. And they were spared, 
somewhat injured, but not one destroyed. The next year a similar 
tornado came ; but we were better prepared, and suffered even less. 
We had several earthquakes, too, the first year or two ; and lightning 
struck one of the Karen houses, but the fire was soon put out. I 
have often wondered, in thinking over those days, how we were cared 
for, and all our wants supplied. 

" The dry season of 1858 was a period of great interest. As soon 
as the first building, the old schoolhouse, was put up, we moved into 
it. It had no glass windows, and was rough enough ; but we were 
very happy there. It was so quiet and sweet all around us, so many 
birds sang (more sweetly than I supposed tropical birds could sing), 
and the jungle, which came almost to our door, abounded in the most 
beautiful flowers, and every thing was so fresh and hopeful. Every 
week, Friday or Saturday, we visited some Kai'en village, and spent 
the sabbath with the people. In that way, although Mr. Beecher had 
to spend nearly all his time week-days in looking after the building, 
still, much important work was done, and preparation for the rainy- 
season school was made. 

" That rains, nearly all the pastors came in to school. It was the 
first time they had ever had the whole Bible to study from. I wish 
I could give you an idea of the intense interest they exhibited as the 



NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE BEGUN. 293 

types and shadows of the Old Testament were explained to them. 
Many of them said that they had never in all their lives learned so 
much as they had in that one season. Some of them brought their 
wives. There were also several young women. And Po Kway 
brought his whole family, excepting Myassah, who was studying in 
Rangoon. Po Kway was one of the most interested students. I rec- 
ollect how amused I was to see him make quite a nioe suit of clothes 
for his little girl, Mali Loothah. His wife, when she first came, was 
quite homesick; and of course I felt somewhat anxious in beginning 
to teach so large a class of women when I had been so short a time in 
the country. My first essay was at a Saturday morning prayer-meet- 
ing. I read to them about Timothy, his mother and grandmother, 
and talked a little upon it. I saw no particular response in their 
eyes, such as I had been accustomed to see from my dear girls in Rock- 
ford [111.] ; but in the evening, Th'rah Kway came, and said to me, 
that, since his wife had heard my talk about Timothy, she was no 
longer homesick. I believe that I was never more comforted in my 
life. That was indeed a busy rains. Besides finishing the buildings, 
and making roads, and a bridge across the creek, the school must be 
carried on with very imperfect machinery. . . . 

" The Karens, especially Th'rah Kway, soon spoke of an English 
school ; but we kept putting it off, from time to time, as well as we 
could. Two great difficulties were in the way, — one, the state of pub- 
lic sentiment at home ; the other, the want of a teacher. However, 
as the Karens were so determined, we at length began, with Santhah 
only to help. Sahnay came afterwards, and so things went on. It 
was simply impossible for Mr. Beecher or me to do any thing in that 
school except to keep a general oversight. I also taught the girls 
to sew, etc. . . . Xo one knows better than you what the work was 
that pressed on my dear husband's time and streugth, and finally 
pressed the very life out of him." 

Mi\ Beecher, writing to a private friend in February of this 
year, says, — 

" The Karens propose to pay the cost of the buildings I am now 
erecting, which will be, when completed on our present plan, some 
two thousand dollars, they holding the property as their own." 

The Karens were full of enthusiasm, no doubt ; but, by the 
time their school-buildings were erected and paid for, they were 



294 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

quite willing to have the Free Mission Society meet the expense 
of the mission dwelling-house, and retain control of the entire 
property. In consideration, doubtless, of the loyal services of 
the Karens in the late war, the government generously gave to 
the Free Mission Society ten acres of land on the crown of this 
hill, and made it free from all taxes, "so long as it shall 
be used for bond fide mission-purposes." Sixteen acres have 
since been added by purchase from native grant-holders ; so 
that the mission now owns twenty-six acres, including the 
entire hill, the whole forming a mission compound unsurpassed, 
in Burma at least, for beauty, extent, and healthf illness. 

On this fair hill Mr. Beecher proceeded to establish in 185S 
the u Bassein Sgau-Karen Normal and Industrial Institute." 
At the importunate and long-continued solicitation of the Ka- 
rens, the English department was added in 1860. His grand 
object, as clearly set forth in a prospectus published in 1861, 
from which we quote below, was to increase the numbers and 
efficiency of the native agenc}', and through them to elevate the 
entire people in the scale of Christian civilization. 

" The gospel has awakened such new life and enterprise in this 
people, that they desire to advance in civilization and social refine- 
ment, as well as in Christianity. To do this successfully, they require 
a much better educated class of preachers, of school-teachers, and 
other lay-helpers, than those who are their present mental and spirit- 
ual guides. All praise is due to the zeal and faithfulness of these 
laborers as pionee?-s ; but the great majority of them were so sadly 
illiterate when converted, and have since (almost unavoidably) made 
such meagre attainments, that they are incapable of raising their 
people, in the social scale, much above their heathen neighbors. The 
object of our plan, therefore, is to raise up an agency well qualified 
to promote education, civilization, and social reform, in connection 
always with progress in the Christian life, or rather as the fruits of 
that life. 

" The Karens have been so long an oppressed people, that all enter- 
prise has been crushed out of them. They have been made to regard 
themselves as inferior in mental and physical abilities to the race that 
ruled them, if not to all other races. It is not strange, then, that 



NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE BEGUN. 295 

they have little heart, even if they had any encouragement, to learn 
any thing from their more skilful but haughty and contemptuous 
neighbors. Being destitute of a literature and science, as well as 
of mechanical skill, they are impressed with the belief that they can 
make little or no progress without foreign aid, and without a wider 
range of thought and enterprise than can be found through their 
vernacular. Not that the masses can be taught in any other than 
their own language, but that a portion of the agency which enlightens 
and guides the masses requires that mental discipline and that knowl- 
edge which can be acquired to better advantage by studying the 
English language than by any other means within their reach. And 
if the standard of moral excellence, social refinement, and ennobling 
industry, which has been attained in England and America, is to be 
the model for moulding these converts, then must the same means be 
used among Karens that have proved effectual among Anglo-Saxons. 

" Impatient of longer delay, the Karens have come forward this 
season, and with great exertion have raised funds for erecting a small 
schoolhouse and dormitories, barely sufficient to accommodate the 
one hundred pupils who have been admitted from a much larger 
number of applicants. Besides these, we have eighty in the vernacu- 
lar department. 

" In order that these pupils may be fitted for the work now needed 
among their people, it is evident that they must be taught the natural 
sciences, physiology, and hygiene. All observing Europeans remark 
their unproductive and wasteful methods of cultivating and cleaning 
their great staple, rice; and no one who has noticed how much laziness, 
disorder, and looseness are attendant upon their sprawling postures 
in their unfurnished houses, can have failed to reflect upon the health- 
ful moral influence of chairs and tables in daily use. In connection, 
then, with studies that will enlighten, strengthen, and elevate them, 
they need to be taught practically some branches of mechanical in- 
dustry. 

" These considerations seemed to indicate that it was highly impor- 
tant to establish somewhere among the Christian Karens a Normal 
and Industrial Institute. Believing that Bassein is a most favorable 
place for such an institution, we propose, with the divine blessing, 
to give the schools now in our charge this character, as far as the 
means intrusted to us will permit. These schools are in fact already 
assuming this character. All the pupils in both departments are now 
required to perform some kind of manual labor thi'ee hours a day. 



29G BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

Ten of the vernacular pupils are at -work with carpenter, joiner, and 
wheelwright tools. From fifteen to twenty are required to clean the 
rice used by the school ; and they are doing it this season with mills, 
fitted up mainly by the pupils, which are regarded by all as a decided 
improvement upon the mills in common use. Six lads have become 
quite skilful in making low seats, or morahs, of rattans and bamboos. 
Sixteen women and girls are instructed in needlework. A large num- 
ber of the smaller boys are at work clearing and grading the mission 
premises, which were covered with dense jungle. This work will 
soon be finished, when there will be some seventy-five lads who would 
gladly work at useful trades, if they could be supplied with the neces- 
sary tools and workshops." 

None over thirteen years of age were admitted to the Eng- 
lish department, unless they had previously received instruction 
in that language ; and all entered under a pledge to remain ten 
years, if approved after due trial. The English classes con- 
tinued in session nine months in the year ; and, from the outset, 
the expenses of board, lodging, and native teachers, were mainly 
borne by contributions in money and paddy from the Karen 
churches. Although an appeal for outside help, either in money 
or school-material, was issued with the prospectus, but little 
aid was received. The work, however, went on, gathering vol- 
ume aud steadiness year by year, as we shall see hereafter. 

The first building erected on the premises was the old school- 
house, fifty-two by thirty-four feet, which stood about ten feet 
west of the present girls' school, between it aud the mission- 
house ; next came a line of dormitories, running north and 
south, a few steps east of the schoolhouse, each thirty-four 
by seventeen feet, in which were used for posts the iron-wood 
slabs obtained in squaring the posts of the mission-house, 
also built in 1858. The small English schoolhouse, which 
stood a few rods north of the mission-house, was erected in 
18G0 or 1861, and was more substantial than either of the 
earlier school-buildings. All of these accommodations for the 
school probably cost the Karens, with Mr. Beecher's careful 
management, not less than three thousand or four thousand 



NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE BEGUN. 297 

rupees. Of course, all were roofed with thatch, and made of 
cheap jungle- wood ; so that the best of them, with aunual 
repairing, lasted barely fifteen years, when, with the increased 
resources of the Karens, they gave place to a more substantial 
class of structures. 

But a burning desire for education, and enlarged plans for 
promoting education, were not permitted to interfere with the 
religious work of this people. In April, 1858, another quar- 
terly meeting of the Conference and Home Mission Society was 
reported by Mr. Douglass. Mohgoo was the place of meeting. 
A memorial service of deep interest was held, in view of the 
recent death of Rev. Mr. Vinton. Lootoo, one of the faithful 
missionaries to Toungoo, was present, with seven young con- 
verts who had returned with him to study in the Bassein 
schools. His account of the work in which he and his com- 
panions had been engaged, with the lamented Whitaker, excited 
much interest. Mr. Douglass's story of the way in which the 
first debt in the Bassein Karen mission was managed is worthy 
of insertion : — 

" After one of the young men from Toungoo had given some 
account of his own people, and the work among them, the committee 
of the Home Mission Society gave their report. They stated that 
six men were ready to go as missionaries ; that the three young men 
who had been to Toungoo had returned in debt ; that paying them 
and the other missionaries had exhausted all the funds, and left the 
treasury with a deficit of ninety rupees. 

" As this is the first time the Home Mission Society has been in 
debt since its formation, the announcement created at first a little 
despondency; but instead of passing a resolution to retrench, to 
appoint no more missionaries, and to recall some already appointed, 
they voted unanimously, after a little conference, to appoint the whole 
six. The question was then asked, Could not a contribution and sub- 
scription be taken on the spot ? This idea met the approval of all ; 
and in a few minutes three hundred and forty-seven rupees were 
raised, a large portion of which was paid at once, and the remainder 
promised within three months, thus cancelling the debt, and more than 
providing for the six missionaries for three months to come. Ail 
then united in the closing season of thanksgiving and prayer." 



298 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

At the October meeting held in the town of Basseiu, the 
foreign missionary spirit of this people was again manifested. 
Most missionaries had long believed that the main body of the 
Karen people would be found in Upper Burma. The Karen 
Christians had come to feel a strong desire to send missiona- 
ries thither to their own unknown kindred. Mr. Douglass nar- 
rates the circumstances : — 

" Soon after the meeting commenced, a spirit of fervent prayer was 
manifested. Never have I attended a meeting among the Karens 
where the Spirit's power was more visible. Resolves of a bold char- 
acter were made with reference to educational and missionary opera- 
tions. Early in the meeting there was a call for volunteers to go 
to the Karens north of Ava. Some expressed a wish to go, but no 
appointment was made until sabbath evening ; and the inquiry con- 
tinued as to who would lead the way as a pioneer into that vast 
region between Ava and Assam. At the close of the services sabbath 
morning, in a conference of the pastors, I ventured to ask if Rev. Po 
Kway was not the man. He was taken a little by surprise. But the 
question was no sooner asked than all saw, and soon heard, that his 
mind was full of the subject, and that he only wanted the concurrence 
of his brethren fully to believe it his duty to leave his church, his wife 
and children, and go. This concurrence was promptly given ; and 
that evening, Po Kway and two younger men were appointed for the 
work. 

" An address followed, showing that to sustain these men and the 
others under appointment, and to carry out the resolutions passed 
during the meeting, fervent prayer must continue to be offered, and 
all they possessed be consecrated to God. A contribution was taken 
for missions, amounting to over one hundred rupees. Po Kway and 
the young men will go three or four hundred miles north of Ava, and 
spend about six months preaching and exploring, that they may learn 
the number of the Karens there, the dialect spoken, and the willing- 
ness of the people to receive the gospel. He will then locate the 
young men at suitable places, and return here to report. Po Kway's 
intellectual power, education, eloquence, and devoted, consistent piety, 
cause him to stand pre-eminent among the ordained pastors in this 
district. He is about to commence a work which we hope will not 
be less glorious in result than that which Quala began in Toungoo 
five years ago." 



NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE BEGUN. 299 

To tell the story of this mission in a few words, the party 
went, in company with Rev. Messrs. Kincaid aud Douglass, as 
far as Ava and Mandalay, Leaving the capital in January, 
in a Burman boat, two of them went north to Bhamo, the pres- 
ent seat of the Kakhyen mission, whence they soon returned 
home. As we now know, there are nowhere, north of the 
frontier, Karens who speak the dialects used in Lower Burma ; 
so that the expedition only served to settle the question of 
there being no Karen field in that direction, and to prove the 
zeal and devotion of those who composed and sustained it. 
The information obtained concerning the Kakhyens was cor- 
rect, and of some value. 

In November we find Mr. Douglass organizing the Pwo 
Karen church at ThahyahgQn, now one of the largest churches 
among that people. As the village has recently been set off to 
the new district, of which Maoobin is the chief town, there is 
some talk that the church may join another association. Most 
of the original members were converted under the ministry of 
Thahbwah, with whose name and work we are already familiar. 
The little Sgau church at Kwengyah (south) also originated 
about this time, through the labors of Ko Thahno, one of 
Mr. Douglass's Burman assistants, — the only instance, in Bas- 
sein at least, of a Karen church founded by a Burman preacher. 

At the annual meeting in Kohsoo, in February, 1<S59, the 
deputy commissioner, or governor, Major Brown, was present, 
and made a brief speech on the importance to the Karens of 
educating their children. Several other English officers and 
merchants were present, and expressed themselves as much 
pleased with the singing and the general appearance of the 
Karen Christians. Th'rah Po Kway gave a report of his mis- 
sion to Upper Burma ; Shway Bau spoke of his labors among 
the Kyens in the Prome district ; while Thahbwah and others 
gave an account of their labors in the home field. The subject 
of building permanent villages, and of breaking up, as far as 
possible, the Karen habit of roving from place to place without 
sufficient reason, was made prominent. Strong resolutions on 



300 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

this subject and on education were discussed and adopted. 
The aggregate of contributions was greater than in any previ- 
ous year. At the closing session, Sunday, p.m. (the meetings 
began on Thursday), twelve hundred disciples partook of the 
Lord's Supper with thankfulness and joy. 

In November, 1859, the hand of fellowship was withdrawn 
from Thahbwah, for ten years a Pwo evangelist, for immorality. 
The church at Thahyahgon, which he had been instrumental in 
founding, and which comprised several of his near relatives, 
excluded him promptly and unanimously, and chose a young 
Sgau preacher in his place. When such straight-forward dis- 
cipline, regardless of the ties of kindred and clan, becomes the 
rule among Karen churches, it will be a happy day for them, 
and their glory will be less frequently dimmed than it is at 
present. 

Dr. Kincaid reports this year four Karen preachers laboring 
in the Prome field, sent thither and supported by the Bassein 
Home Mission Society. This service was continued year by 
year, both among the Karens and the Kyens of the Prome field, 
until 18G3, when Dr. Kincaid writes as follows: — 

" I have frequently mentioned the young Karen preachers from 
Bassein. They were supported for a year [three years ?] by the Bas- 
sein churches. I have now assumed their support. Up to this time, 
twenty have been baptized as the result of their labors. And this is 
not the only result. The seed of the kinydom has been widely scat- 
tered, and I know there are many who can no longer make offer- 
ings to the evil spirits. The gospel in its power has reached them. 
Twenty or thirty have been taught to read the word of God in their 
own language. One year ago they were degraded heathen, and did 
not know a letter of the alphabet. These preachers are both first- 
class young men, 1 and have been remarkably well instructed in the 
Scriptures. To Mr. Beecher and the Bassein churches I am under 
great obligations for such faithful and well-trained fellow-laborers, — 
men who are not eye-servants, and do not need prompting to go into 
the field, and work, — men who do not see 'a lion in the way.' One 

1 Myat Koung and Shway Nee are referred to. 



NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE BEGUN. 301 

of them has been very ill with fever for three months. He is still 
feeble, and I have provided him with means to ride from village to 
village, and go on with his work." 

Mr. Thomas also reports two brethren laboring in his field, 
under the support of the Bassein churches, in 1859, and five 
the year following. The contributions of the Karens in Bas- 
seiu are reported by Mr. Douglass as steadily increasing. Owing 
to the alarming state of Mrs. Douglass's health, her husband 
was obliged to return to the United States in the summer of 
1860. The Pwos continuing to ask earnestly for a missionary 
of their own, Mr. and Mrs. Van Meter were sent back to them, 
arriving in Rangoon Sept. 29, I860. Their ship, the M. B. 
Forbes, which carried several other missionary passengers, 
became a bethel during the voyage ; all but two of the crew 
and officers, from the captain down to the cabin-boy, profess- 
ing a hope in Christ. Bereaved of their little son soon after 
their arrival in their own home, Mr. and Mrs. Van Meter seek 
comfort and joy in the avenues of usefulness which open to 
them on every side. 

Six Chinamen had been baptized in Bassein, of whom Dr. 
Stevens writes, "They owe their knowledge of Christ mainly 
to the Karens, among whom they are accustomed to trade." 
In the absence of Mr. Douglass, Mr. Van Meter looked after 
the interests of the little Burmau church and the Chinese 
converts, as well as he could. As Mr. Beecher was no longer 
connected with the parent society, he also reported, from time 
to time, the progress of the Sgau work. This service, so little 
appreciated at the time, was the more valuable from the fact 
that the Free Mission Society seems to have taken little pains to 
preserve in permanent form the current history of its missions. 
Mr. Beecher' s original letters to the secretary of that society 
are believed by Rev. Dr. Brown to be no longer in existence ; 
and we have been unable to find anywhere a file of the society's 
organ, the " American Baptist." 

The meeting of the Bassein Association at Kaukau Pgah, in 
February, 18G1, was an occasion of more than ordinary inter- 



302 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

est. Dr. Binney, from the seminary in Rangoon, was present, 
and gave valued assistance. The impression left upon his 
mind by this his only visit to Bassein can be inferred from 
the following paragraphs written to the secretary : — 

" I was very much pleased with what I saw and heard. The meet- 
ing of the association opened punctually at the time appointed, and 
every thing moved on as though they were used to it. During the 
three days' session, the letters from the churches were read, and 
the queries, theological and casuistical, noted. The discussion of those 
queries went through the whole session, and added great interest to 
the meeting. The churches, ministers, and schools are in a very 
encouraging state : to me it appeared especially so, as their efforts 
rely largely upon Karen support. It was truly cheering to see eight 
hundred or nine hundred Christian Karens collected together for such 
purposes, and to witness the intelligence and energy with which they 
attended to the business. Sabbath forenoon there were not less than 
a thousand Christians present, nearly all from abroad, and among the 
best members of the churches. I was gratified to meet many of my 
owu and some of Dr. Wade's old pupils, and to see that they are 
among ' not the least valuable men here.' I was not ashamed of any 
who took a public part, as most of them did. I am quite willing the 
tree should be judged by the fruit. Mr. Beecher speaks well of them. 
But the places assigned them, and the manner in which they per- 
formed their duties, was most conclusive to me. The senior pastors, 
whom Mr. Abbott ordained, are strong, reliable men. They remind- 
ed me of some of our fathers in the Baptist ministry at home, who 
learned the value of an education from the want of it, and resolved 
that their sons in the ministry should not suffer as they had done. 
They were the men who provided institutions, and urged young men 
to go to them in our own land ; and the same class are nobly doing a 
similar work in Bassein. They see the advantages of education, aud 
how it w T ould add even to their own usefulness. They took part in 
all the discussions respecting education, and manifested a warm sym- 
pathy in all our remarks in behalf of village schools, Mr. Beecher 's 
school, and my own." 

The ordination of Dahbu, the pastor of the church, on Sun- 
day, gave great pleasure to all. He had studied under Dr. 
Binncy in Maulmain ; and the doctor writes of the examina- 



NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE BEGUN. 303 

tion, conducted by himself, that it was one of the best that he 
ever attended. At the ordination-service, Dr. Binney gave the 
charge to the candidate, and Mr. Beecher addressed the church. 
We continue our quotation : — 

" As soon as Mr. Beecher closed his address, an elder of the church 
arose, some distance from us, and in a short speech responded to the 
address. This part was not in our programme, and it took us all by 
surprise ; but it was beautifully and touchingly done. In a few 
remarks, simple and to the point, he, for himself and for the church, 
accepted, as from the Lord, the precious gift of a pastor, with all its 
accompanying duties and responsibilities, and pledged himself and 
the church to an effort rightly to sustain the relation ; so that God 
might be pleased, and that pastor and church might be happy and 
useful, and, in closing, asked the prayers of all, that God would help 
them to be faithful. It had a very good effect upon the large assem- 
bly. The whole proceedings and my visit have greatly encouraged 
me in my own work. It is not in vain : it is worth living for, and, if 
need be, dying for." 

For more than twenty years now, that church, as well as 
their admirable pastor, have nobly redeemed the pledges made 
that day. 

Mr. Van Meter was present, and took a part in the associa- 
tion at Kaukau Pgah ; but the Pwo churches were not well rep- 
resented. They had a separate meeting, immediately after, in 
a Pwo village, looking forward, no doubt, to the formation of a 
separate Pwo Karen association. The connection of the Sgau 
churches with a distinct American society, and the not unnatu- 
ral feeling that they and their work were somewhat over- 
shadowed by the larger Sgau body, made a separation seem 
advisable to them ; and it took place two years after, with kind 
feelings on both sides. If there had not been, somewhat later, 
a little too much eagerness to draw away, from the older organ- 
ization, churches in which there were a small minorit}* only of 
Pwo members, fewer regrets would have followed the change. 
At the supplementary meeting of the Pwos, Thahbwah, the 
fallen Pwo preacher, was full}' restored to his place in the min- 
istry and to his salary from America. 



30-1 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

During the year 18G1 thirty-five native evangelists were com- 
missioned by the churches of this district ; some for a short 
period, others for the entire year. Of these, twenty-two were 
Sgaus, eleven Pwos, and two Burmese. Two of the Sgau 
preachers were expected to go a long way towards Ava, in 
search of large Karen communities reported hi that direction. 
At the association in M'gayl'hah, in February, 1862, it appeared 
that eight new churches had been formed during the year, three 
of which were among the Pwos. Two hundred and eighty bap- 
tisms were reported, and seventy-seven "new worshippers;" 
the number of pupils attending the schools was three hundred 
more than the year before ; while the contributions for the 
English school in town had increased threefold. At the same 
time, in order to secure three thousand rupees and fifteen 
hundred baskets of paddy annually for the support of the town 
school in both its departments, the Sgau churches voted to as- 
sess themselves thenceforth yearly one rupee and a half-basket 
of paddy per member for this object. The contributions for 
all purposes this year reached Rs. 10,637, of which Rs. 1,219 
came from the Pwos. Two unordained preachers, Shwaythee 
and Pohdee, were set aside for immorality. We should not 
omit to mention that Mr. Van Meter acknowledges one hundred 
baskets of paddy and some money, given to him this year by 
the Sgaus for the Pwo school. 

During the year 18G2 there was more than ordinary encour- 
agement in the work for the heathen of Bassein. Mr. Van 
Meter's journals speak of several new villages that seemed to 
be turning to the Lord. He draws a pleasing picture of a scene 
which transpired in November : — 

" Immediately after Yoh Po's sermon, we proceeded to the exami- 
nation of Shway Wing, a Chinaman, for baptism. Man Yay, also a 
Sgau preacher, aided in this; but so imperfect is the candidate's 
knowledge of Burmese, that Ko Han, another Chinaman, had to in- 
terpret for him. A strange sight this, but one of deep significance, 
may we not say? — a Karen examining a Chinese, through the Bur- 
man language, as a candidate for membership in a Burman church, 



NORMAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE BEGUN. 305 

and that through one of his own people as interpreter, in the presence 
of an American missionary, who must in some degree bear the re- 
sponsibility of the decision. He seemed unwilling to admit that he 
was still under the influence of sin, and an actual transgressor; but 
he finally admitted the fact, if he before denied it. Our chief de- 
pendence, of course, is on the knowledge of his life and conduct for 
the past two years, while going in and out among us as a believer 
in Jesus. There was entire unanimity in his reception." 



As this year of our Lord (18G2) closes, we hear grateful 
tidings from Bassein laborers in distant lields. One who had 
wrought among the northern Bghais of Toungoo for two or 
three years, " with much success," was ordained by Dr. Mason 
and his assistants. Toowah, then fresh from his studies in 
the seminary, now one of the veterans in the Henthada field, 
sends the following comforting message to his aged mother in 
Bassein : — 

" Six young persons are learning to read with me. The parents 
have already become disciples. Others seem about ready to follow. 
I hope many more will become Christians here soon. I hear that my 
mother is anxious about me, because I am in Myanoung [a region 
infested with robbers]. Do write her a letter, and tell her not to be 
anxious about me, for I am safe. Burman officials greatly hinder 
the work. It is truly distressing to me to hear them curse and revile 
the disciples. — Toowah." 

Sahpo, small of stature, but brave and true, writes thus to 
his beloved teacher Thomas : — 

" Dear teacher, since I parted with you in Henthada, I have been 
on a preaching-tour, quite to Enmah [near Prome]. Some, mostly 
the young, listened attentively; but the older people are less desirous 
of hearing the gospel. I saw a great many villages in Enmah ; and 
as I went from village to village, almost alone, O teacher ! I felt my 
own weakness. Then I remembered Joshua going about the walls 
of Jericho, and took courage. Do remember these Karens in your 
prayers. I am sure that ere long God will enlighten the hearts of 
these multitudes. And why not? God can command the stones, and 
they become the children of Abraham." 



30G BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

On the 18th of May Mr. Beecher wrote in his private 
journal : — 

" Had the great pleasure of welcoming back to his native laud, to 
our family, and to a share in our labors, Brother Sahnay, after an 
absence of seven years and two months." 

Long before this, the pupils had made such progress in the 
use of tools in the industrial department of the Institute, that 
he had written : — 

" Instead of the old, stupid excuse for indolence and inefficiency, 
that ' Karens cannot do these things,' they reply, to propositions for 
new branches of industry, that they are able to do whatever their 
missionary will teach them." 

The first public examination of the English school was held 
on Thursday, Nov. G, 1862. Several of the English residents 
were present, and expressed themselves well pleased with the 
progress of the pupils. 



CHAPTER XVI. 



1S63-1S66. 



" ' There are heathen enough here in America. Let us convert them 
before we go to China.' That plea we all know ; and I thiuk it sounds 
more cheap and more shameful every year." — Rev. Dr. Phillips Brooks. 

A multiplicity of cares and heavy burdens were rapidly tell- 
ing upon Mr. Beecher's constitution. To his other trials and 
anxieties were added open opposition, for a time, from one who 
owed all his education, and opportunities for extensive travel, 
to himself and to the American Christians whom he repre- 
sented. Whatever may have been the need twenty years ago, 
now, certainly, there is little occasion for the natives of Burma 
to subject themselves to the risks, and Christians in America to 
the heavy expense, of ocean-passages, and years of sojourn in a 
foreign land, to acquire an education. Facilities better adapted 
to their wants are now to be had at their own doors in Burma ; 
and our missions should be saved the distraction and trouble 
which have been too often caused by superficially educated but 
self-confident young men returning from their somewhat daz- 
zling experiences in the new world to their native wilds in the 
newer old world. Happy will it be if the great body of native 
pastors and Christians to-day, and onward into the future, shall 
have the good sense and loyalt}' to put down the spirit of pre- 
tension and discord as it was summarily put down by the God- 
fearing, missionary-loving Karens of Beecher's day. 

Early in 18G3 four more tried men were ordained to the full 
ministry of the Word; viz., Thahdway, the able and popular 
pastor of the church in Kyun Khyoung, one of Dr. Wade's 

307 



308 BASSE IN KAREN M 1 SSI ON. 

pupils ; Thahree, so long Mr. Abbott's faithful personal at- 
tendant; Kroodee, also one of Abbott's men, not great in 
intellect, but the model pastor, who said, as he lay a-dying in 
1872, with a beautiful smile breaking over his face, "The 
angels of heaven have received me;" and Tsa Laing, an 
approved Pwo pastor. This accession brought up the number 
of Karens hitherto ordained in Bassein to sixteen, of whom 
fourteen were living ; twelve of them, the apostolic number, 
being Sgaus. 

In February, as already foreshadowed, two associations were 
held in different villages, the Pwos finally separating them- 
selves from the Sgaus. Mr. Van Meter reports a serious 
division in the Thahyahgon church, caused by two or three 
quarrelsome and boisterous men. He relates, that soon after 
one of their outbreaks, two of these men happening to be in 
one house, a stroke of lightning deprived one of both wife and 
child, and marked the other, probably for life. The result was 
a new chapel, an enlargement of the village, great union in the 
church, and such a warm and hospitable welcome to the Pwo 
association as is rarely seen even among the Karens. The 
cast-iron theory of natural events had not then penetrated the 
Karen jungles. 

On the Gth of Januaiy thirty-six baptized believers united 
in forming the Institute Church, — the first Karen church 
established in the town of Bassein. As their action, and the 
covenant to which they subscribed, had been duly approved by 
a council from the neighboring churches, the new church was 
received iuto fellowship at the following meeting of the Sgau 
association. 

A mission to the Karens of Zimmay in Northern Siam (now 
again revived, in 1881 and 1882, under more hopeful auspices) 
was then in progress. Sahdone and three companions, all 
recent pupils of Dr. Binney, left Bassein for that distant region, 
after appropriate farewell services in the school chapel, on the 
30th of Januaiy. They went vid Maulmain, with a company 
of traders, but found the difficulties and dangers of the way 



DEPARTURE AND DEATH OF MR. BEECHER. 309 

so great, that they stopped short of their destination, and re- 
turned. The mission to the Karens and Kyens of Prome was 
still prospering, but the missionaries were suffering a good deal 
from fever. Thirty-one Karens altogether had professed their 
faith in Christ since the four brethren then engaged in that 
work first entered upon it. Single churches were at this time 
contributing as much as four or five hundred rupees a year for 
various objects ; and Mr. Van Meter states that one (Sgan) 
village brought in no less than five hundred baskets l of paddy 
for the use of the town school. Grants-in-aid were also offered 
to the jungle schools by government this year, for the first 
time, — five hundred rupees a year for three years to the Twos, 
and fifteen hundred rupees to the Sgaus. 

The rainy-season term of the English school opened May 5, 
with forty pupils present the first day. On the 11th, however, 
owing to an outbreak of cholera and small-pox in the town, and 
the death of a pupil from the latter disease, Mr. Beecher felt 
obliged to dismiss the school for three weeks. How often has 
this seemed to be necessary in later years ! Aug. 9 Mr. 
Beecher writes in his journal : — 

" Received a letter from Dr. Binney, notifying me that I should 
probably be invited to a council in Toungoo to see what can be done 
to arrest the progress of Mrs. Mason's heresies among the Karens. 
Replied to Dr. Binney, that, if invited, I should consider it a most 
disagreeable duty to attend. Would that God in his wisdom and 
mercy, however, would order some more effectual means of saving 
those feeble churches from ruin ! " 

Mr. Beecher was absent on this painful business during most 
of September and October. 

During this year one of the Bassein evangelists in the Prome 
district, Moung Coompany, was earnestly engaged in reducing 
the Kyen language to writing. He succeeded in making a 
spelling-book and a small hymn-book in that language, which 
were printed by Rev. Mr. Bennett. High hopes were enter- 

1 Rather more than that number of bushels. 



010 BASSEIX KAREN MISSION. 

tained of his continued usefulness among that people, all of 
which were blasted, first by his downfall in dishonest debt and 
adultery, and, later, by his becoming a rank heresiarch, and 
doing all the harm he could in two or three misguided churches 
of his native district. The love of the Chinese church-members 
seemed to be waxing cold, when, fortunately, about the close 
of the year, Mr. Douglass reached his old field in Bassein 
again. Mo Nyo, a third Pwo pastor, was ordained about the 
same time. 

Dec. 24, Mr. Beecher writes in his journal : — 

" Had a visit from Poo Goung. Was much gratified to hear that 
fourteen or fifteen young men wish to study the Scriptures and arith- 
metic with him, as soon as the hurry of harvest is over. 1 God is 
thus beginning to grant an answer to my prayers, that he would create 
a hungering; and thirsting: for a knowledge of his Word in the hearts 
of the Karens." 

In January, 1864, the association was held at P'nahtheng 
with much Mat. At the urgent invitation of the church in 
P'nahtheng, the Burmese association just held in Bassein was 
adjourned to join with the Karens in their annual gathering. 
Dr. Stevens, Messrs. Crawley and Douglass, Mrs. Ingalls, and 
perhaps other Burman missionaries, were present with several 
of their assistants and disciples, and added much to the joy 
and profit of the occasion. Dr. Stevens writes thus : — 

" The Karens urged their plea by the statement that they had long 
prayed that God would visit the Burmans as he had the Karens, and 
incline them to his service. They now saw their prayers answered, 
not only in the conversion of the Burmans, but in bringing a Burmese 
association to hold its session in their midst. They felt, therefore, 
that they could not be deprived of the privilege, nor could we decline 
such an invitation. The session was truly interesting, uniting the 
Karen and Burman disciples in closer bonds, and producing a deep 
impression in the minds of all, missionaries and converts, that the 
kingdom of Christ is taking firm root iu this land." 

1 These studies had hitherto been pursued only in the rains. 



DEPARTURE AND DEATH OF MR. BEECnER. 311 

Mrs. Ingalls also writes : — 

" It was a glorious sight to see that representation from the Karen 
churches of Bassein, headed by fifty pastors. Some of them had 
passed through bitter trials, but these have made their faith strong in 
the power of the eternal God. I had met many of these men when 
I first came to Burma with my dear husband ; and it was sweet to 
renew our acquaintance, and together mingle our tears, and talk of 
the Lord's goodness. They very much enjoyed this meeting with the 
Burman brethren. One day I saw two men with arms clasped about 
each other's neck, and I paused to know the reason. One was a Karen 
preacher [Myat Koung, probably. — Ed.], and the other a Burman 
preacher. They held each other a moment, and then, half releasing 
themselves, the Karen exclaimed, ' We were enemies once, but now 
we are brothers ! ' And then, with overflowing hearts of joy, they 
bowed upon the grass, and mingled their prayers of love and grati- 
tude." 

Let it be noted, that, at this great meeting, the first on the 
list of resolutions adopted was this : ' ' Resolved, That Bassein 
ought to beg until it gets an American teacher to come and 
help in the teaching of the Bible." In other words, Mr. 
Beecher, the native pastors and Christians generally, had come 
to feel the urgent necessity of having a Bible-school for the 
Karens in Bassein itself. That an urgent call went home to 
the Free Mission Society there is no reason to doubt. But the 
call, though often renewed to the mother society as well as to 
the daughter, remains unanswered to this day. The contribu- 
tions of the Sgau churches for this year, including Bs. 144 given 
for the entertainment of the Burmese association in Bassein, 
foot up to Rs. 11,174. The number of Sgau communicants was 
5,431, or, including the Pwo and Burman Christians, 6,0G4 
members of Baptist churches in the Bassein district. 

The meeting of the Pwo association, also, was a pleasant 
occasion ; and the reports of the itinerants among the heathen 
showed that much aggressive work had been done, not without 
a prospect of rich results. So great had been the strait for 
money in the mission, owing to the war in America, that the 



312 BASS FIN KARFN MISSION. 

Pwo mission house and compound (now owned by Mohr 
Bros. & Co.) had been sold during Mr. Van Meter's absence, 
and the proceeds used to keep in operation the missions of the 
Union in Henthada and Bassein. He had now secured for eight 
hundred rupees a new home for the Pwo mission, opposite the 
Burmese mission compound ; and this fact gave satisfaction and 
hope to the Pwo Christians, who cheerfully made a contribution 
for the erection of temporary buildings for the use of their 
children in the town school. The deputy commissioner, Major 
Stevenson, attended this meeting on two of the days. Mr. 
Van Meter says of his visit, — 

" His object is to become acquainted with the people, and to have 
them become acquainted with him, and know that he is their sincere 
friend, personally and officially. As an earnest Christian man, he 
gives his support to every measure that tends to elevate the people ; 
and he believes firmly that the prevalence of Christian truth will do 
this most effectually. When hi the city, it is his custom to have reli- 
gious services in the court-house, sabbath afternoon. At this time he 
invited all to tell freely of any grievance, present any petitions, or 
make any inquiries they wished. In order to attend the better to 
such business, he had brought with him two court-writers, who made 
on the spot a memorandum of all matters of importance. Six of the 
preachers, who had not yet received their tax-exemption papers, gave 
in their names, and will not need to go to court in the city. He 
addressed the association on the subject of schools, especially village 
schools, stating the deep interest felt in this matter by government, 
and the conditions on which aid would be given." 

During this year, several new adherents are reported at 
Myat-laykhyoung, where the Romanists are said to be making 
strenuous efforts to get a foothold. 1 The Zoungyahgyun church 

1 It was about this time that a Roman-Catholic missionary, depending 
on the co-operation of a deputy commissioner of the same faith, went to 
work systematically to compel some of his Karen disciples to unite in form- 
ing a large village in the south-eastern part of the district. Things went 
on pretty smoothly, until one man — not daring to refuse, yet determined 
not to obey — hanged himself. This brought the business to light, and very 
soon put an end to it. 



DEPARTURE AND DEATH OF MR. BEECIIER. 313 

receives eighteen new members from the heathen, and doubles 
its congregation, largely through the labors of M}'at Than, a 
native of Paybeng, and long a member of that church, but 
now for many years the ordained assistant of Rev. Mr. Bray ton 
in Rangoon. Mr. Van Meter's "heroic" method with a nig- 
gardly Sgau Christian in this village would hardly be adopted 
by pastors in the United States who are afflicted with covetous 
members in their churches. He writes : — 

" One of the wealthiest men in the place, who ought to be the 
leading man in the church, is so wretchedly mean in giving for the 
support of the gospel, that his example is most pernicious. I have 
lately instructed the pastor to say to him and his family, that they 
must give up to a certain amount (say, ten baskets of paddy), or 
nothing at all would be received from them. This, perhaps, may 
shame them into doing their duty. It will at least show the others 
that we can do without the gifts of some men, and they be no better 
off, and the church no worse off." 

At the two associations held in March, 18G5, exactly four 
hundred baptisms were reported — a larger number than in any 
year of the preceding ten. Three hundred and sixteen of these 
were Sgaus, two were Shans, the remainder Pwos and Burmese. 
Upwards of one hundred "new worshippers" are reported 
among the Karens, of whom seventy are Pwos. Two new 
churches were received. The schools numbered one thousand 
and six Karen pupils, and the outlook was full of encourage- 
ment to the friends of missions. Among the subjects for car- 
nest prayer presented by Mr. Beecher at the Sgau association 
were these, "that God would stir up the disciples' hearts to 
hunger and thirst for the Holy Word," and " that God would 
bless the work of the society in America, in sending an addi- 
tional teacher to Bassein." A resolution was passed also, 
which may sound strangely to Americans. It was to the effect 
that any applicant for baptism who cannot read, and who has 
no understanding, is to be refused. The resolution is justifia- 
ble on the ground that learning to read the phonetic Karen is 
so easy, and the facilities for so doing so widely diffused, that 



314 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

a persistent neglect to acquire the ability to read would indi- 
cate an utter lack of appreciation of the worth of God's word 
and the dignity of the Christian calling. 

This year Myat Koung, the evangelist in Prome, was or- 
dained under Dr. Kincaid's direction. Tahpooloo, also a Bas- 
sein man, was ordained pastor of one of the Maulmain churches. 
A little later, Sahpo, of whom we have already spoken, was 
ordained in one of the remoter villages of Henthada ; and, 
about the same time, Shwayleh was set apart to the work of the 
ministry by the laying-on of hands in Toungoo. This Shway- 
leh was connected with the work in Toungoo almost from its 
beginning ; and, according to Dr. Cross, he was one of the very 
few who were not shaken in mind, or entangled in the new cus- 
toms and the new religion invented by Mrs. Mason. The year 
after his ordination, he made a speech at the association, of 
which we have a report b}' Dr. Cross. His statements are so 
true, and so worthy of consideration, that we reproduce them. 
He said, — 

" You see the Bassein Karens everywhere, in all parts of the mis- 
sion-field. Your own pastor and his wife are from Bassein, and you 
may see many others as the leading men among you. Why is this 
difference ? I answer, It is because the first disciples in Bassein were 
made to know by trials and cruel opposition the value of books, and 
how much it costs to possess and read them. I was obliged, when a 
lad, to hide my books in the ground, or in a hollow tree, and steal 
opportunities to read them by night, for fear of the Burmans. They 
killed one of my uncles, by tearing out his bowels, for having and 
reading books. It was these trials, and the faithfulness with which 
they held on to their Bibles, that made the Bassein disciples what they 
now are, in comparison with others. No others have paid so much 
attention to the Bible and to schools, and no others have made so 
great advancement, or sent so many preachers to other places, as 
they." — Missionary Magazine, 1867, p. 413. 

A fortnight before this speech, two more Bassein preachers, 
Lootoo and Klehpo, 1 were ordained by Dr. Cross, making six 

1 For Rev. A. Bunker's estimate of Klehpo, and his efficiency in stirring 
up the Toungoo Christians to self-help, see Missionary Magazine, Sep- 
tember, 1875, p. 404. 



DEPARTURE AND DEATH OF MR. BEECHER. 315 

Bassein men in all ordained in foreign parts within a twelve- 
month. It is necessary to speak of these things to show the 
far-reaching results of Abbott's and Beecher's labors, and also 
to show how highly Bassein Karens have been appreciated in 
fields remote from their native district. 

In October, 18G5, at Rangoon, was formed a society from 
which great things were expected, and from which great things 
ought yet to be realized, — the Burma Baptist Missionary Con- 
vention. Beech er, Douglass and Van Meter, with several of 
their native assistants and brethren, participated in the first ses- 
sion of this body ; the former taking an active part in the draft- 
ing of the constitution. 1 In the resolutions which were adopted 
on education, we find an appreciative notice of Mr. Beecher's 
schools in Bassein. Directly after his return, in earlj' Novem- 
ber, the quarterly meeting of the Sgau pastors was held ; an 
unusually large number being present. There was an animated 
discussion on the subject of the new convention ; but a decis- 
ion to unite with that body was not reached, although it was 
earnestly advocated by the three Bassein missionaries. Three 
new Karen missionaries were appointed to Prome, and two to 
Toungoo to assist Rev. Mr. Bixby in work for the Geckos. 

As too often happens in our " hand-to-mouth " way of con- 
ducting foreign missions, help came when it was too late to 
relieve and save the patient, suffering burden-bearer. Rev. 
William M. Scott and wife, from the vicinity of Philadelphia, 
sailed from Boston, July 28, under appointment by the Free 
Mission Society, to aid Mr. Beecher in educational work. 
Touching at Galle, they reached Rangoon Dec. 18, and Bassein 
near the close of 1865. Dr. Scott was a regular graduate in 
medicine, and had had some experience in school and medical 
work among the freedmen. He was a good man, of very fair 

1 The author was associated with him in this work, and he remembers 
distinctly that Article V — " This Convention shall assume no ecclesiastical 
or disciplinary powers" — was proposed by Mr. Beecher, and adopted with- 
out dissent. To the close of his life he held this principle of the Free 
Mission Society to be of vital importance. 



316 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

abilities, and if he could have had a fair chance (which could 
only come by using his eyes and ears for a year or two, with 
the senior missionary in principal charge) , he would have suc- 
ceeded well. Instead of addressing himself to the uninter- 
rupted study of the language, the state of Mr. Beecher's health 
required him to take charge of the English school almost imme- 
diately, and that step was only preliminary to heavier burdens. 

At the association in Thahbubau, March 1-4, 1866, Mr. 
Beecher presided, apparently with his accustomed energy. 
The Scotts were there, young and buoyant. Mr. and Mrs. 
Carpenter from Rangoon were present also, by invitation, and, 
without suspecting it, received their first introduction to the 
scene of their future labors. To their eyes every thing was 
hopeful : there were no signs of the coming change. Prepara- 
tions for the erection of a house for the Scotts were actively 
progressing. The Karens had brought in over thirteen hun- 
dred rupees for that object. The scholars were clearing a site 
for the house, and the posts and lumber were contracted for. 
Mr. Beecher was complaining a little of a sore mouth, but 
neither he nor his friends regarded it as an alarming symp- 
tom. The stroke came at last, as tropical storms sometimes 
come, almost without warning. He had not taken to his bed, 
or given over his accustomed duties for a day. Even after the 
arrival of Mr. Scott, he kept about his work from morning 
till night, and too often, in his restless dreams, from night till 
morning. In less than a month after the meeting at Thahbu- 
bau, the startling news came that Brother Beecher was far 
gone in consumption of the lungs, 1 and that he was positively 
ordered to leave the country without delay. 

They had but one week in which to pass over the work into 
other hands and to make hurried preparations for the home- 
ward voyage. The wife and mother, almost an invalid, rose to 
the emergencv. Her sick husband and four little girls — the 



1 Physicians in England decided that his lungs were unaffected, and 
that he died of chronic disease of the liver. 



DEPARTURE AND DEATH OF MR. BEECHER. 317 

eldest under eight, and the youngest in very poor health — must 
be got ready, or at least made comfortable, for the long passage 
around the Cape. Kind friends gave their assistance. Boga- 
nau, a lad in the English school, was read}' to go and help take 
care of " the teacher," though there was not time to seek the 
consent of his parents. A ship must be chosen, and the choice 
rested with Mrs. Beecher. There were three in the river, load- 
ing for England, two of them comparatively new and fast. The 
third, the William Chandler, was a lumbering old craft, but 
stanch, and nearly as comfortable for a family as the others. 
She had a close netting around the poop, which would make it 
"so safe for the children." This, with the fact that she was 
to sail a day or two before the others, decided the question. 
They would go in the Chandler, although the port-officer said 
afterwards that he, or any seafaring man, would have chosen 
either of the others in preference. The event proved that a 
kind Providence directed the choice. The Chandler was left far 
astern by her fleeter companions. The Mystery, in which the 
children wanted to go, because she had numerous pets on board, 
sailed into a storm, and was lost south of the Cape ; while the 
other, a fine new iron ship, was never heard from again. We 
can take but a few sentences from Mrs. Beecher' s very inter- 
esting account of the voyage, and her husband's last days in 
England : — 

" When I found how hopeless my dear husband's case was, I 
dreaded exceedingly to go to sea ; but our kind friend, Mrs. Wells, 
suggested that there was a possibility of recovery; and kind Capt. 
Wells, while taking us to the ship in his comfortable boat, gave me 
this advice, ' Live in the day, and don't be anxious about the morrow.' 
Although my heart had been like lead, I really think that we took his 
advice. It seemed as though we thought but little, and did not even 
pray much, during those sad first days of the voyage, but left our- 
selves quietly in the hands of our loving Father, and he cared for us. 

" Our state-rooms were very comfortable, but Mr. Beecher was 
unable to come down. He remained on deck, where there was a 
rattan couch, the inclination of which suited him exactly ; and they 



318 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

put up an awning over him, which protected him from the sun and 
the dews of the night. For about six weeks the thermometer did not 
go below 82°, day or night. My dear husband sometimes appeared 
to be dying. There was no doctor, and no woman but myself on 
board ; but the Lord sustained us. Mr. Beecher began gradually to 
improve ; and by the time we had crossed the line, and had reached 
the delicious trade-winds, he seemed to me to be almost well again. 
How pleasant every thing was then ! . . . But all too soon we reached 
the region of change and storms again. As we approached the ' Cape 
of Storms,' the barometer began to fall alarmingly, and the wind and 
sea were so high, that we had finally to heave to. I shall never forget 
that night." 

They had pleasant weather from the Cape to St. Helena, 
and from thence to Falmouth. Mrs. Beecher, however, was 
alarmed by the re-appearance of bad symptoms in the patient, 
especially by the swelling of his feet. On the 6th of August, 
eight days from St. Helena, they crossed the equator again ; 
and Mr. Beecher writes in his journal the last words, it is 
believed, that he ever wrote on earth: "How highly are we 
favored by the Father of mercies ! ' They reached Falmouth 
Sept. 12, and Plymouth on the 14th, all, as it was supposed, in 
greatly improved health. Although much encouraged by hopes 
of the invalid's ultimate recovery, it was thought best to remain 
there quietly for some time before attempting the Atlantic 
voyage. Mr. Beecher was very weak, but as peaceful and 
happy as a child. 1 He took omnibus-rides daily, and enjoyed 
calls from the pious and learned Dr. Tregelles and a few other 
friends. On Saturday, Oct. 20, he took his usual ride, and on 
Sunday would not permit his wife to remain at home from 
chapel to be with him. Monday morning, at four o'clock, after 
a slight exertion, he fainted as was supposed ; but he never 
revived. His trusting spirit had passed home to God. His 



1 A resolution received at this time from the Executive Committee in 
Boston, cordially and unanimously inviting Mr. Beecher to return to the 
service of the Missionary Union, gave him much pleasure, and he even 
indulged the hope of going out again to Burma under their auspices. 



DEPARTURE AND DEATH OF MR. BEECH ER. 319 

remains wei-e interred in the burying-ground of the George- 
street Baptist Chapel. Through all this time of sickness and 
sorrow the kindness of their English friends, man^y of whom 
were old friends of Mrs. Beecher's father, Rev. Dr. C. H. Roe, 
was unbounded ; while the devotion of 3'oung Boganau was like 
that of a son. It was not until the 11th of June following, 
that the bereaved family reached their friends in New York. 

The record of Mr. Beecher's labors in the mission-field we 
have already given in an imperfect manner. While he never 
overlooked other departments of the work, it is evident that his 
attention was largely drawn, from the outset of his career in 
Burma, to the educational necessities of his people. Nurtured 
for many generations in ignorance and superstition, surrounded 
still by the grossest superstitions, accepting Christianity, but 
still inwardly prone to superstition, as the sparks to fly upward, 
he saw no hope for the growth of the Karen converts in love to 
God, no hope for their growth in holiness and all Christlike 
graces, but through giving them far better opportunities for a 
Christian education than they had ever enjoyed. That he was 
right, and that those who opposed him in this respect were 
wrong, is certain. He did not exaggerate the deplorable need, 
nor was he mistaken in the remedy which he sought to apply. 
He was not permitted to see the walls rise far above the sur- 
face ; but the foundations which he so wisely laid, still remain, 
and will remain, we trust, for ages to come, the firm basis of a 
massive structure, which shall ever grow in breadth, height, and 
solidity, fulfilling for all time the educational needs of that 
people. 

Born of stanch antislavery, Baptist stock, it was impossi- 
ble for Mr. Beecher to "lord it over God's heritage." He 
himself testified repeatedly, and to the truth of that testimony 
those who have succeeded him can bear witness, that there are 
no churches in the world more independent, none, as he said, 
more " provokingly independent" sometimes, than the Karen 
Baptist churches of Bassein. He rejoiced in that independence. 
Only when he saw them going astray from righteousness and 



320 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

from the New-Testament pattern, did he interpose, not personal 
authority, but the authority of God's word, which liveth and 
abideth forever. 

A friend who was most intimate with him for many years 
writes thus of Mr. Beecher : — 

"The strongest impression left on my mind as to his character 
is the direct and childlike nature of his faith. His business was to 
do his Father's work; his Father's, to supply the means. And his 
prayers were most remarkable for their directness and trust. He was 
not surprised at the answers to them, which were constant, and often 
striking. He expected that they would be answered ; and, like a child 
with a father, he brought the little as well as the great things, and, 
asking in faith, received the answers continually. 

" The next thing that is impressed upon my memory is his extreme 
attachment to his work. It was the delight of his life. He might 
weary in it, but he never wearied of it. He desired no change, no 
recreation. Few could work on so steadily as he. The Karens often 
spoke of his industry. From early dawn to the hour of retiring at 
night, with the exception of meal-time and a short ride or walk daily, 
he was continually at work at one thing or another, and I well re- 
member on our voyage home, when I was speaking of the pleasure 
of meeting dear friends, and the delights of Christian society at home, 
he agreed, but said after a while, ' I believe that I like work best.' 
Indeed, when at home in 1856, after the first joy of meeting his rela- 
tives, they began to feel that he was theirs no longer. His whole 
heart was in his work. The last six months in Bassein, a kind of 
restlessness took possession of him. Although evidently not in full 
strength, and suffering from local troubles, yet his desire to work 
became a passion, and he undertook more than he had ever attempted 
before. I felt that he was killing himself, and besought him with 
tears to moderate his labors ; but it seemed as though he could not. 
Perhaps he had a premonition that his time was short. In England 
he once remarked, that probably his work had shortened his life by 
ten years ; but he seemed to think that it was worth the sacrifice. 

" He was attached to the Karens with a deep and undying love ; 
and yet that affection never led him to seek popularity among them, 
or to flatter them, or to refrain from telling them the whole truth, if 
they ought to know it, in the plainest manner. He knew their faults 



DEPARTURE AND DEATH OF MR. BE EC HER. 321 

so well, and felt them so deeply, and often spoke of them so plainly, 
that I sometimes wondered how he could still have such unwearied 
patience with them. The Karens would hardly have endured his 
plain speaking if they had not felt his deep and true affection for 
them . 

" One characteristic of Mr. Beecher's, which must have struck all 
those at all intimately acquainted with him, was his perfect truthful- 
ness. He hated exaggeration, and rather underrated than overrated 
his own work, or suffering, or success. Indeed, he criticised rather 
severely some who spoke eloquently of the sufferings and privations 
of missionary life, never allowing that they were worth mentioning. 
His exactness led him to enjoy and value statistics, and he delighted 
in making them out himself. 1 He had many accounts to keep, — with 
the society, the school, the Karens, and with the government for 
' grants-in-aid ; ' and he kept them all clear and unconf used. He was 
a good business-man, — could build a house better and cheaper than 
most men, and would always buy and sell at the right time, greatly 
to the advantage of the school and mission. In a word, he was a 
strong man, one to be trusted and relied upon, not one. who would 
easily change or waver. He was also eminently disinterested and 
unselfish in all the relations of life. Of what he was as a husband 
and father I hardly dare to speak." 

During the later years of his life Mr. Beecher's spirit was 
much softened ; and before his death, we are told that even- 
trace of bitterness was obliterated. He referred in affectionate 
terms to the brethren of the Missionary Union, and especially 
to his old friend and associate, Mr. Abbott. He died, as we 
all would die, at peace with all the world. He rests well : his 
work abideth. 

On the west wall of the spacious and beautiful Memorial 
Hall in Bassein may be seen two marble tablets side by side, 
as the two brethren and companions in labor would wish them 
to be. The one is sacred to the memory of E. L. Abbott. The 
other bears this inscription, imperfect, in that it contains no 



1 To Mr. Beecher the readers of this volume are chiefly indebted for 
the full and instructive statistical information herein contained. 



322 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

mention of the American Baptist Free Mission Society, to 
which he was so true : — 

Sacred to the Memory of 
JOHN SIDNEY BEECHER, 

[Name and title in Karen.] 

Missionary of the American Baptist Missionary Union 

And, hy the help of God, the Founder of the 
Bassein Sgau Karen Normal and Industrial Institute. 

Born in Hinesburg, Vt., U.S.A., Feb. 19, 1S20; 

Arrived in Sandoway, Burma, December, 1847; 

Opened this Institution in 1860; 

Died in Plymouth, Eng., Oct. 22, 18G6. 

His is the distinguished honor of establishing 

The first Christian School in Burma on 

The basis of indigenous support. 

The Karen Christians of Bassein will not suffer 

His name, or the Institution which he founded, 

To perish. 

[In Karen] May his work ever nourish! 



CHAPTER XVII. 

1867. 

" Christians are God's people, begotten of his Spirit, obedient to him, 
enkindled by his fire. To be near the Bridegroom is their very life: his 
blood is their glory. Before the majesty of the betrothed of God, kingly 
crowns grow pale: a hut to them becomes a palace. Sufferings under 
which heroes would pine are gladly borne by loving hearts which have 
grown strong through the cross." — Count Von Zixzexdorf, the Moravian. 

We have seen that the Karens were so full of zeal and cour- 
age in 1857-58, that they were ready themselves to undertake 
the support of an additional teacher from America. No less 
conscious of needing more teachers, the} 7 were not long in find- 
ing that there was a limit to their pecuniary ability. They 
now call upon American Christians to send them a suitable 
man or men to carry on the work to a higher stage of advance- 
ment. A few words on the subject thus suggested seem to be 
called for. 

So great is the poverty of Asiatic Christians, and so great 
is the consequent disparity between their mode of living, and 
the living which is absolutely necessary for the preservation 
of a white foreigner's health and strength in their country and 
climate, that we should deem it most unwise to ask or permit 
them to contribute to the support of American missionaries, 
although the missionary's whole time and strength be used for 
their benefit. To ask a native, who lives in a hut on five 
dollars a month, or less, to bear his share of the support of his 
own native pastor, and, in addition, to contribute to the support 
of his missionary, who lives in a house which would be to 

323 



324 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

hiin a palace, on fifty dollars a month, which would be to him 
the height of luxury, would be unreasonable, and most unhappy 
in its effects every way. Self-respect would constrain a mis- 
sionary, in accepting native support, to bring down his living 
as nearly as possible to the native level, although it might in- 
volve the loss of health and years of usefulness. 

But we urge more especially, that, to do the native Christians 
and the heathen the greatest amount of good, the missionary 
must be quite independent of native support. Paul refused per- 
sonal gifts and personal support from all his converts, save 
those in Philippi, although they belonged to nations wealthier 
and more civilized, probably, than his own, in order that the 
Gentiles everywhere might know that he sought "not yours, 
but you." (See 1 Cor. ix. 12, 15, 18 ; 2 Cor. xii. 14 ; 2 Thess. 
iii. 8, 9, and elsewhere.) So John, in his Third Epistle : " For 
His name's sake they went forth, taking nothing of the Gen- 
tiles." For any missionary to violate this principle, and make 
a gain in any way of the people whom he goes to elevate and 
save, is disastrous to his influence and usefulness. Develop 
the principle of self-support, by all means, to the utmost ; but 
let American churches look to the support of their own mis- 
sionary representatives. 

Despairing of adequate help from the Free Mission Society, 
the Bassein pastors united in the following letter to the A. B. 
M. Union. It was sent through Mr. Douglass, in March, 1866, 
after its contents had been made known to Mr. Beecher. 

Bassein, Bcrma. 

To our beloved brethren in America, pastors, elders, and all disciples oj 
Christ : — 

We, pastors and Christians of Bassein, send a Christian greeting. 
May the grace of God abide with you ! Dear brethren, we desire to 
tell you a little of our present condition. We cannot forget the great 
grace brought to us by you formerly. We constantly remember the 
time when teacher Abbott first came to us. His coming caused us 
great joy. From the death of our beloved teacher until now, we have 
never been so happy and steadfast as before, and in some things wo 



MR. THOMAS IN CHARGE. — HIS DEATH. 325 

have retrograded. First, the schools in town and in the villages have 
diminished : in some of the villages, schools have long ceased to exist. 
Secondly, the number of men willing to go and preach to the heathen 
has decreased. Thirdly, conversions from among the heathen do not 
increase : they have nearly stopped. Fourthly, the love of the disci- 
ples generally to the Saviour is less, and they appear not to have the 
same pleasure in serving him as formerly ; thus they seem retrograd- 
ing year by year. 

Beloved brethren, this state of things is very hard for us. We 
Karens do not understand ; we cannot devise ; we have no power ; we 
are a feeble people, and have as yet little strength to do for ourselves. 
We wish therefore to ask you a few questions : — 

What are teacher Abbott's two sons doing? How are they living? 
How employed ? Are they not worthy to do the Lord's work ? We 
have hoped they would remember the work their father left here. 
We express our wish in this matter, but we cannot bring it to pass 
of ourselves. It must be decided as you think best for us. Teacher 
Beecher says he cannot remain long among us, but a new teacher will 
come to take his place. We feel that one missionary is not enough 
for Bassein. We need two or three American teachers all the time. 
We want one man to teach English, one man to teach the Bible and 
other books in Karen, and one man to have the superintendence of 
the churches. One man cannot supply our necessity : possibly two 
might do. But, dear brethren, our wants are so great, we cannot pro- 
vide for them all, unaided by you. We are still weak, and there is 
much poverty among us. We therefore implore your help. 

The churches in Bassein have many things to do for themselves. 
They have the Home Mission Society to support, and the English 
Institute for young men and women. They also have the schools in 
their villages to support, besides their own pastors. These things we 
must do ; and, as we cannot do all that ought to be done, we write 
to tell you, dear brethren, and pray you to remember us, and send us 
help. When you have received this our letter, and considered it, we 
beg you to be patient, and inform us whether you will try and send 
us one or two missionaries or not. 

May the blessing of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you all ! 
Amen. 

(Signed) Myat Keh. Toothah. 

Mau Yay. Tohlo, 

Po Kway. 



326 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

The falling-off in the schools, to which the pastors allude, 
must have beeu in comparison with what was done in the first 
years after Mr. Beecher's return to Basseiu from America, not 
in comparison with what was done in Mr. Abbott's time, when, 
from the untoward circumstauces, very little indeed could be 
done in that line. The decline in spirituality should have been 
attributed mainly to the prosperity and the worldly cares which 
followed the irregularity, the losses, and, to some extent, the 
license, of the war. The fact was, also, that Mr. Beecher at 
last found himself simply overborne by the magnitude of his 
work. He had said again and again that the work in his field 
required the full time and strength of three men. He was a 
strong man, and he had literally used himself up in the vain 
struggle to overtake the various tasks that pressed upon him. 
True as most of this letter was, and not uncalled for, the read- 
ing of it, in his prostrate condition, must have added to his 
pain. To have delayed the writing a few weeks would have 
been more merciful, and none the less effectual. 

Aside from communicating with the sons of Mr. Abbott, no 
action was taken by the Executive Committee until after news 
of the departure of Mr. Beecher from Burma had been received. 
It then being settled that neither of the young men referred to 
was prepared to respond favorably to the call of the Karens, 
Secretary Warren wrote to the pastors, assuring them of the 
warm interest of the Missionary Union in the Basseiu Chris- 
tians, and suggesting the name of Rev. D. A. W. Smith of the 
theological seminary, as a man well able to supply their needs. 
By the same mail a letter was sent to Mr. Smith, opening the 
way for him to go to Bassein, in case he should feel inclined. 
The very day before this letter arrived, however, it had been 
arrauged, provisionally, that Mr. Thomas, who was on the eve 
of embarking for the United States, in broken health, should 
try the effect of a change to Basseiu, Mr. Smith supplying his 
place in Henthada. Mr. Thomas was already well known and 
loved by the people of Bassein ; and he soon received cordial 
letters from the Karens, inviting him thither. That this defer- 



MR. THOMAS IN CHARGE. — 77 IS DEATII. 327 

ring of the homeward vo}'age would cost the mission his valuable 
life was far from the thoughts of his friends ; but so it proved. 
The arrangement gave general satisfaction. One of the leading 
brethren in Rangoon wrote at the time : — 

" A noble band of Christians they are at Bassein, and they need 
look no farther for a man adapted to them. It is the hand of the 
Lord re-instating the Missionary Union in its own field. We have 
great reason to rejoice in the present harmony prevailing among all 
the missionaries of this field." 

Mr. Thomas reached Bassein the last of February, 1867. 
Mr. and Mrs. Scott were occupying the mission-house and 
compound owned by the Free Mission Society. A new dwell- 
ing-house must be built before the raius ; and Mr. Thomas, 
though much debilitated, set about the task promptly. The site 
selected was on the Free Mission property, at a convenient dis- 
tance from the chapel and school-buildings. To avoid compli- 
cations of ownership, the materials and some mone}^ gathered 
by the Karens for a house for Mr. Scott were made over to 
Mr. Thomas ; and the balance necessary, furnished by the Union, 
was to be regarded as advance rent, the house to belong to 
the Karens, when the accumulated rents should amount to a 
sum equal to that put into the house by the Union. A harmo- 
nious division of the work assigned to Dr. Scott the superin- 
tendence of the English school, in which he was succeeding 
finely, and to Mr. Thomas the care of the churches. 

The statistics of the Sgau churches for 18GG, the last year 
of Mr. Bcecher's connection with the mission, footed up, — 
churches, 52; baptisms, 209; pastors (ordained), 12; unor- 
daiued pastors and preachers, 72 ; communicants, 5,658. Total 
contributions for religious and educational purposes, Rs. 17,549. 
The Pwo statistics for the same year show 17 churches, 74 
baptisms, 631 communicants, 5 ordained pastors, 23 preachers, 
and the total contributions and expenditures, Rs. 3,282. 

Mr. Thomas's letters from Bassein this year give us a clear 
idea both of the field as he found it, and of the nature of his 
closing labors on earth : — 



328 BASSE IX KAREN MISSION. 

" Basseix, Feb. 28, 1S67. — Having passed beyond the Henthada 
field, I spent a day at Kwengyah, the seat of the first Bassein church, 
and tried to arouse them from their spiritual stupor. Towards night 
we started for our boat, nearly a mile from the chapel, followed by a 
large number of the disciples and by nine candidates for baptism. 
On reaching the river, we had worship, and then, in the presence of 
many heathen Burmans, I baptized these, re-entered my boat, and 
hastened to the next church. 

" Friday was spent with the large church in M'gayl'hah. I attended 
an early prayer-meeting, visited young converts and old members at 
a distance of three miles, preached at eleven, a.m., at noon baptized 
five, communion in the afternoon, and left, to sleep five miles farther 
down, at Pohdau. As the pastor was unwell, we did not hold meet- 
ings here, but pressed on early the next morning to Hseat-thah and 
Shankweng, where are more than two hundred disciples. There I 
spent Saturday and Sunday. ' The word of God was precious.' Sun- 
day noon I baptized fifteen happy converts in the Bassein River, — a 
beautiful baptistery. 

" In all the above places the simple preaching of one, two, or three 
sermons, was but a small part of the labor to be done : hence I reached 
the city weary and worn, yet not abating ' a jot of heart or hope.' 
Now with my whole heart I entreat the dear people of God in Ameri- 
ca to pray, ' O Lord, revive thy work ' in Bassein." 

"March 29. — Soon after arriving in Bassein, I started southward, 
to visit churches that were in a bad condition. I visited six, all that 
there are on the river in that direction. I was very kindly received 
in every place, and found many who seemed like true children of God. 
March 13 we went to the association. Messrs. Scott and Thomas 
with their families were there, and Brother Van Meter, and a very 
good representation from the churches. We spent four days and five 
nights preaching, praying, devising, and directing iu reference to the 
interests of these churches." 

The letter closes thus : — 

" The schools are prosperous. I do not think there is any wide- 
spread error in Bassein ; but I am deeply impressed with the convic- 
tion that there is a very low state of piety. We need a revival here. 
Plead with the Saviour that he may again 'visit his plantation.' Let 
our united cry be, ' O Lord, revive thy work ' in Bassein ! " 



MR. TIIOMAS IN CHARGE. — HIS DEATH. 329 

Mr. Scott writes to the " American Baptist : " — 

"The twenty-fourth annual meeting was held with the Lehkoo 
church. A large number of pastors and delegates were present, 
though a few of the churches were not represented. Some of the 
Karens came in on elephants. The stately march of seven or eight 
of these huge animals through the streets of the little village, to and 
from the thickets where they sought their food, was quite a sight to 
us. The meetings, four each day, were all well attended. Hundreds 
nocked to the daily sunrise prayer-meetings, in striking contrast to 
the few who usually find their way to similar meetings at home. The 
spirit of believing prayer seemed to be in the hearts of many. 

"Brother Thomas presided throughout the meetings in a very in- 
teresting way. Sermons were preached by brethren Thomas, Dahbu, 
Kwee Beh, and Poo Goung. An obituary notice of Brother Beecher, 
testifying to the value of his labors, was adopted, and ordered to be 
printed with the minutes. Pastor Dahbu, one of Brother Beecher's 
pupils at Sandoway, was appointed to prepare a letter of sympathy 
to Sister Beecher and her fatherless little daughters. 1 A desire to 
send the gospel to the regions beyond was evinced by the adoption of 
a resolution to support three men in the Henthada district, if fit men 
could be found; also to aid two of the Bassein evangelists in Prome. 
A collection of eighty-five rupees was given in aid of [Sahpo, who 
has recently returned to Bassein from Henthada, where he had been 
laboring faithfully for several years]. The question of the continu- 
ance of the English school was discussed. AVhen the vote was taken, 
nearly the whole audience voted affirmatively, by rising to their feet. 
On Lord's Day afternoon, the Lord's Supper was observed with the 
Lehkoo church." 

July 24 Mr. Thomas writes, that since they moved into their 
new house, on the Gth of June, Mrs. Thomas's health had been 
much better. He adds, — 

" "We have been passing through sad scenes. The wife of Sahnay 
was buried yesterday. Do you recognize the name Sahnay? He is 
the man whom Mr. Beecher sent to America to be educated, now 
head master of the Anglo-Karen school [on this compound]. His 

1 This letter pledged pecuniary assistance from the Bassein churches, if 
needed. 



330 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

wife, Nan Pyoo Mah, only spoke Karen. She belonged to a fine 
family, and was an earnest, consistent Christian. We all feel our 
loss most deeply. There are too few such women left. On hearing 
that many heathen Burmans were expected [at the funeral], I sent for 
Brother Crawley, reminding him that there might be a good opportu- 
nity to preach the gospel. He came. Our large chapel was filled, 
and there were not less than a hundred Burmans. So, after the read- 
ing of Scripture-selections in Karen, Brother Crawley made one of 
his most appropriate and effective addresses in Burmese, from the 
words, ' That ye sorrow not, even as others which have no hope.' 
While he spoke of the hope we have of the dying believer, they lis- 
tened attentively, and only began to be restive as he pictured the 
condition of those without hope. The heathen listen, and are inter- 
ested ; but they return to their unholy ways. Whatever may be the 
results of this address, I am very deeply impressed with the great 
privilege of thus preaching the gospel to the heathen. Oh that many 
of the young brethren just about to enter upon life's duties may 
decide to tell these heathen of Jesus ! " 

During the rains Mr. Thomas was teaching in the vernacular 
department three hours a day, besides preaching, and attending 
to the innumerable calls from the jungle villages. Moreover, 
he was hard at work, often until late at night, in writing and 
revising hymns for the new edition of the Karen hymn-book, 
then passing through the press. Not a few of his Karen hymns 
will live, and exert their quickening influence, so long as the 
Karen language is used. Besides all this, and the finishing of 
his house, he was preparing copy for the Karen " Morning 
Star," which he edited for many years. He also published at 
this time two excellent tracts, on "Family Worship" and 
"Revivals of Religion." No wonder that he writes to a cor- 
respondent, Aug. 30, " Really I am too weary to write much 
now, and have no time to do so." 

In October he writes to a friend in Rangoon that the at- 
tendance at the Ministerial Conference was very large. The 
subject of discontinuing the English school was again under 
discussion. If we mistake not, Mr. Thomas himself was in 
favor of its discontinuance, and pressed the subject somewhat. 



MR. THOMAS IN CHARGE. — II1S DEATH. 031 

Mrs. Scott had been obliged to leave the country on account of 
serious ill health, and there was a prospect that her husband 
would haA r e to follow her before long. The school was dis- 
missed for six weeks ; but it was finally settled that it should 
be carried on, and that a single lady from America should be 
obtained, if possible, to assist in that department. At the 
fullest session Mr. Thomas introduced a resolution to this 
effect: "As the Burma Baptist Missionary Convention is of 
the same faith and order with ourselves, we put our minds at 
one with them" ("pah p'thah t'plerhau dau au"). There 
followed an hour of warm discussion. Sahnay led the opposi- 
tion. Mr. Thomas spoke much, he writes, giving all the light 
he could on the objections raised, the principal one seeming to 
be the fear that some time the convention might even introduce 
life-memberships. Finally the subject was wisely dropped, 
without taking a vote. Evil seeds of distrust had been sown, 
even in that early day, which would yield their bitter fruit in 
that otherwise fair field for many a long year. 

We give two more characteristic extracts from Mr. Thomas's 
letters to the secretary : — 

" Aug. 10. — Last evening the mail came in, and we got accounts 
of your meetings at Chicago. Many things astonish us nowadays, 
but nothing more than the growth of the West in America. In 
Chicago there is evidently something besides a vast city and numer- 
ous men and women ; these we have on this side of the globe : but 
there is moral power. We rejoice that perfect unanimity prevailed in 
the missionary meetings ; yet I fee? the need of something still better, 
— a tender, melting sense of God's presence. Feter could walk on the 
water while he kept lowly, and while his eye was fixed on Jesus. 

" Nov. 24- — The rainy season passed away much as it has seven- 
teen other times since I have been in Burma. Only this season I 
have had more anxiety about the churches. The care of them and 
the station-work, with instruction in the vernacular school, nearly all 
the preaching in Sgau Karen, preaching once a month in English, 
together with editorial duties, have kept me busy, nay, crushed ma 
almost to the earth." 



332 BASSEIN KAREN .MISSION. 

Owing to the mortal disease -which was upon him, though he 
knew it not, Mr. Thomas turned back from Rangoon, quite 
unable to reach the convention at Maulmain. For medicine, 
he again resorts to travel among the jungle churches. He 

writes : — 

" Dec. ££, 1867. — On my return from Rangoon, I commenced my 
preparations for work among the Karens. The country was not dry 
enough for me to travel safely until the first of this month. Having 
returned to the city for a few days, I hasten to give a few particu- 
lars in regard to my tour. From them the reader may infer the 
general state of things now existing in Bassein. 

"I visited twelve different churches. In some of them my stay 
was brief; but in others, circumstances required me to prolong it. 
To the most of the twelve, I came ten years ago. In some, say in 
three of the twelve, I can see a very decided improvement ; in other 
places there has been no improvement ; while in a few, deterioration 
is to be plainly seen. 

" The church in Shan Yuali is in a very undesirable state ; but, 
as I can go there easily, I propose to visit the place later, when I can 
spend a longer time. Hence I did not call the disciples in from their 
distant fields. At evening, however, I preached to a good congrega- 
tion from John xv. 8, urging the people to bring forth fruit, much 
fruit; e.g., support their pastor, instruct their children, and other 
tilings in which I knew them to be deficient. 

" Thence we proceeded to Wetsoo, on the east side of the river, 
some twenty miles from the city. In this place we spent three days. 
Here are about one hundred disciples, who seem to be true believei-s; 
yet they are divided, one half adhering to the preacher established 
there, while the other half, only two miles distant, have put up one 
of their own number as their pastor. This preacher is a very modest, 
intelligent, sincere-appearing man. 1 While there were no outbreaking 
sins to be dealt with, there was a want of vigor and of general intel- 
ligence. But both branches would be deemed worthy Christians in 
any part of the world, and yet they were hopelessly divided. Last 
March I spent a day and night here. We urged them to be united 

1 We regret to say that Pablo, the preacher referred to, was disfellow 
shipped at the association in 1882, for practising heathen enchantments. 



MR. THOMAS IN CHARGE. — HIS DEATH. 333 

under one preacher, but that union is impossible. Hence, after 
much prayer and consultation, the Wetsoo church agreed to become 
two bands. They seemed relieved when they found they could do 
this, and to love each other better than ever before. 

" Our work was very simple after we found that union could not 
be had. It was merely to form an additional church. There were 
no letters of dismission to be read. One church simply agreed to 
separate into two. Then, before the elders from neighboring churches 
and the missionary, they agreed to love and aid each other, to main- 
tain the ordinances of the gospel, and to extend the blessings of 
Christ's kingdom in the world. Hence we all agreed that they were 
two real churches of Jesus. How simple, yet how mighty through 
God, is a church of Christ ! We had the communion with both 
churches separately, but persons to join both were baptized by me at 
one place. It was a very solemn occasion. Four were accepted out 
of ten applicants. 

" From Wetsoo, returning up stream a few miles, we entered a 
large river to the west, called Thaudoay. On this river and its tribu- 
taries are many of our churches. We soon came into a beautiful 
country. The spurs of the Western Yoma range began to show 
themselves, — beautiful, gravelly hillocks, on which are thrifty gardens 
of pine-apples, shaded by jack and mango trees in great numbers. 
Here the people are not confined to rice-cultivation. Between the 
hills, paddy grows luxuriantly ; but, should the rice-crop fail, these 
fruit-gardens still remain. It is a land richly blessed of Heaven. 

"We first stopped at Ilsen Leik, not because of any difficulty known 
to exist in the church, but, as this is the place for the association this 
year, I wished to see if all was likely to be in readiness, and if the 
time of meeting was understood. Here is Thahree, one of our most 
intelligent ordained men. There are pleasing signs of enterprise and 
Christian activity in this church. Improvement is very visible. I 
was here ten years ago, and spent a whole day in trying to unite this 
church, and to induce them to make choice of a pastor. 
» " From Thahree's church we pi-oceeded up the stream ten miles, 
to one of the most disordered churches in the district, — the one in 
Gai-kalee [or Pee-neh-kweng]. It numbers a hundred and twenty-five 
members. Five years ago the pastor (unordained) was expelled from 
the church for open sin. Thus far all was in order. But here the 
difficulty began. A large party, mostly relatives of the pastor, were 
opposed to calling a new man. They said their old pastor, if he 



334 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

should repent, ought to be reinstated. But the majority prevailed. 
They called another man, restored the offender to church privileges, 
but opposed his becoming a preacher again. Upon this the friends 
of the offender withdrew a few miles, and proposed to become a new 
and separate church. In this condition I found them when I came 
to Bassein. Often have I urged them to return to their church rela- 
tions, or else, by aid of a council of brethren, to form themselves into 
a new church with a man of untarnished character for pastor. 

"But on reaching Gai-kalee all had to be talked over again. The 
names of all were still on the church list at Gai-kalee, yet for three 
years the disaffected had never reported themselves. Bad reports 
also were in circulation about many of the lost members. Our first 
work was to have the Gai-kalee church erase these to them lost mem- 
bers. This was done understandingly, though perhaps it was now 
done for the first time in Burma. The church understood that they 
had cut off thirty members from all connection with them ; that, if 
these members were ever admitted into any church, it must be on 
experience, much as candidates for baptism are received. 

" Our next business was to go to the members thus cut off, and see 
what could be done with them. Having called the elders of the 
nearer churches, we went to Lahyo, where these irregular members 
reside. We found them in a beautiful place. They had built a small 
chapel, and on our arrival they received us with great cordiality. At 
first nothing would do but to acknowledge the once excluded preacher 
as their pastor. This we firmly resisted; and after preaching and 
praying, and a great deal of talking, all gave up their favorite, and 
agreed to do as their brethren thought they ought to do. They were 
willing to accept another man as pastor. 

" Then we formed a kind of council of the elders in the vicinity, 
who knew all about these scattered members. Out of about thirty, 
fourteen were found without fault. These wished to be constituted 
into a new church. After questioning them as to their belief and 
future intentions, it was voted that they be a church of Christ in 
Lahyo. Then from among themselves was found a very worthy ap- 
pearing man, Tookyau, who was unanimously chosen as their minis- 
ter. A deacon was not ready just then ; and the missionary told them 
that a church could exist without a deacon, at least until such officers 
are needed. Having thus formed a little church, and they having 
chosen their pastor, they proceeded to other business. Three candi- 
dates for baptism were accepted. Two more persons, whom no church 



MR. THOMAS IN CHARGE. — HIS DEATH. 335 

had claimed for years, were received on experience. Then we all went 
to the baptismal waters ; and then, for the first time in Lahyo, was 
celebrated the dying love of Christ. 

"I was surprised to find that many heathen Karens reside near 
Lahyo, and Tookyau seems to be pleased to labor among these 
heathen. Who knows but this little one is to become a thousand? 
These twenty poor disciples cannot yet -support their preacher; but 
I have just received the good news that God has put it into the heart 
of a sister in Milesburg, Penn., to send twenty-five dollars to be spent 
by me. This money shall be given to aid Tookyau to preach the 
gospel among the heathen in Lahyo. 1 

" From Lahyo, we went on as far as we could before Sunday was 
upon us again. That was a precious sabbath. We spent it in two 
places quite near together. In Mohgoo, Rev. Shahshu is the ordained 
pastor. Their meeting-house is the very best I have yet seen in the 
jungles of Burma. There and in Taukoo it was very cheering to see 
stable, orderly, intelligent Christian men and women. The word of 
God has taken deep root in many villages. It will be sure to bear 
fruit to God's glory, and that for years to come. But we need a 
revival, oh, how much! 

" The sabbath past, we again directed our course where our help 
was needed. Several members of the Hohlot church had been to me 
in town, complaining that three ordained men and several elders had 
decided that one of their members, an elder of the church, was guilty 
of immorality. This, they affirmed, was not so ; and, to prove it, they 
declared that the church had not excluded said elder. On arrival, 
I found that nearly all the church believe the man guilty, but hardly 
dare to exclude him. They feared to act, and tried to hope that it 
was sufficient for a quasi council to act for them. We tried to make 
the church feel that they must take action at all hazards. I will not 
stop to tell how we passed up to the very end of the Thandoay River, 
trying to stir up other churches, until I reached another river to the 
north-west of Bassein, when, hearing that cholera was raging in town, 
I returned, fearing that the school might be scattered." 

1 Rev. Ng'chee, the present pastor at Lahyo, in addition to the care of 
his little church, does regular, hard work among the heathen far and near, 
for which he receives from the Karen Home Mission Society pay enough 
to give himself and family a frugal support, without looking to Christians 
in America for help. 



336 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

We quote most of the above letter, because it would be diffi- 
cult to find a more graphic and truthful picture of missionary 
work as it goes on to-day among the Karens. We have heard 
it whispered that missionaries in foreign lands are prone to 
assume episcopal powers. That they are called upon to do the 
work of a bishop, in the New-Testament sense, on a far wider 
scale than pastors in America, and that they endeavor to fulfil 
the duties of that office in the fear of God, will not be denied. 
We have here a fair sample of their work in stimulating pas- 
tors and churches to activity, in healing divisions, promoting 
wholesome discipline, order, and orthodoxy in faith. Let the 
descriptions which Thomas and others have frankly given in 
our missionary publications be read critically. Where is the 
assumption of unscriptural authority ? Let the particular fault 
be pointed out, and missionaries, we are sure, will not be slow 
to correct their errors. The letter which follows is the last 
that appeared in the " Magazine " from the pen of its lamented 
author. 

BASSEIN, Jan. 8, 1868. 

This second trip has been among the churches up the river to the 
north. Let me say a few words as to what I have seen and heard. 

I have seen many professed Christians : but many of them have 
a wild, heathenish appearance ; this is especially true of the women. 
The fact is, the members of these churches read but little. When I 
first reached Bassein last year, there were less than fifty Karen news- 
papers taken and read in Bassein, among six thousand Christians. 
Over three hundred are now taken, but they are read by a few only. 
There are but few Bibles in Bassein. I have already furnished one for 
every church in this district. A few private members have received 
the same great blessing. But this precious book looks too large for 
this people to undertake to read it. They are absorbed in their paddy- 
fields. They admire fine guns and fine cattle to cultivate their fields, 
but to read the word of God there is but little disposition. They 
do like to hear read the news items in the monthly paper; but, as 
they can get these from their pastors, they decline, as a body, to " take 
the paper " for themselves. 

I have found schools, though just now not in operation, as it is 



MR. THOMAS IN CHARGE. — HIS DEATH. 337 

harvest-time; but they are held mostly in buildings with no walls 
and but indifferent floors and roofs. All seems so cheerless, and so 
destitute of all that is adapted to interest children, that one is led 
to doubt if education can be maintained among any people in this 
way. 

The women of this district are in a worse state than the men. 
They work in the fields with their husbands. They are careworn, with 
children clinrinsf to them every moment in the day. No child can 
be left alone for a few moments, shut up, it may be, in a room, while 
the parents attend to household affairs. In these Karen houses there 
is no room into which to put children. They must be held by might 
and main to keep them from falling through the bamboo floors, or 
over the edges of the verandas, on which there are no railings. Hence 
women grow old while very young. They are destitute of nearly all 
the privileges enjoyed by women in New England. They seldom 
attend meeting, or only with a child or children too troublesome to 
admit of the mother hearing God's word. The missionary's wife is 
in the city ; but not more than one Karen woman in a hundred ever 
goes to these good missionary women ; and alas ! there is no female 
missionary to go to them : all are away, or worn out with }"ears of 
toil. 

I have only written a few of the disheartening things which have 
pressed themselves upon my attention during the past two weeks. 
I am oppressed with a burden upon my soul, — a burden which no 
human hand has placed there, and which no hand but that of our 
gracious God can relieve. I bless God that I have been permitted to 
preach the gospel with such freedom here in Bassein, and to so many. 
Now my strength is nearly gone. But there must be hard, persever- 
ing, earnest preaching of the gospel here. There must be work 
done. 

At last, like Beecher, Mr. Thomas awoke, too late, to the 
necessity of an immediate change. At the close of January 
he was in Rangoon, "a mere skeleton," and " too miserably 
unwell to write." Feb. 28 he penned a letter from Madras, 
which lies before us. From that port, onwards to Marseilles, 
he suffered agony almost from every revolution of the steam- 
er's screw. In Paris he enjoyed a brief meeting with the 
Baptist brethren, and put himself under the care of an eminent 



338 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

physician for a few weeks ; but he was very weak. In one of 
his last letters he writes : — 

" Earth has lost in my eyes much of her charms ; but, now that I 
am on my way home, I have a great desire to see all there. But there 
are purer, brighter scenes above, even if I fail to see those I so much 
love in America." 

In his very last letter to Secretary Warren, dated London, 
May 8, he speaks a word for peace : — 

" I want you and Dr. B to be united; i.e., I want the two socie- 
ties to become one, at least as far as Burma is concerned. This union 
would be the greatest tiling you could do for Basseiu. Please remem- 
ber this, as you go to New York for the meetings. 

" Yours in the gospel of Jesus, 

"B. C. Thomas." 

Hastening on, he reached New York on the 8th of June, and 
died three days later, surrounded by sorrowing Christian friends 
aud relatives. 1 

On his gravestone, in the cemetery at Newton Centre, Mass., 
these true words are inscribed : — 

" He preached Christ ; he trusted in Christ ; he has gone to be with 
Christ." 

May we do our work as well, and enter into our rest as peace- 
fully, as did the warm-hearted, manly man, and devoted mis- 
sionary, Benjamin Galley Thomas ! 

1 An obituary notice of Rev. B.C. Thomas may be found in the Mission- 
ary Magazine for September, 1868, p. 381. 



CHAPTER XVIII. 

1868-1874. 

" If India is ever to be evangelized, it must be by the voluntary efforts 
of her own sons, not by agents sustained by foreign money, and directed by 
foreign committees. . . . Not invasion, but permanent occupation, is our 
object: that object can never be attained, save by making the roar support 
itself." — Indian Evangelical Review, April, 1874. 

The manner in which the American Baptist Missionary Union 
finally obtained undivided possession of the Bassein field is 
worth recording. Soon after the departure of Mr. Thomas, 
Mr. Scott received instructions from his board, that, in case he 
should leave Bassein, he was to sell the property of the society 
to as good advantage as he could, or, if unable to sell, to make 
it over legally to Rev. Messrs. J. B. Vinton and R. M. Luther, 
their missionaries in Rangoon. Mr. Scott accordingly wrote 
to those brethren, giving them the first opportunity to buy the 
mission-compound, and proposing that one of them should 
remove to Bassein, and take charge of the school and mission, 
as he himself was about to return to the United States. Mr. 
Luther replied, on behalf of Mr. Vinton and himself, to the effect 
that they had not the funds wherewith to buy the property, nor 
was either of them at liberty to leave their work in Rangoon. 
They also suggested the purchase of the property by the Karens. 
A general meeting of the pastors and elders was accordingly 
called on the 11th of June, 1868. Mr. Douglass, who is our 
authority, was present at the meeting, by invitation. Mr. Scott, 
as agent of the Free Mission Society, offered to sell the entire 
property to the Karen Home Mission Society for twenty-six 

339 



340 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

hundred rupees, a nominal price ; that being the amount actu- 
ally expended by the Free Mission Society on the dwelling- 
house and outbuildings of Mr. Beeeher. This sum the Karens 
at first agreed to pay, on condition that Mr. Douglass would 
move into the house, and take temporary charge of the prop- 
erty and the school. This he declined to do. After five days 
of prayer and consultation, the pastors united in a request that 
Mr. Douglass would purchase the property for the Missionary 
Union, and himself take the superintendence of the mission. 
We quote from his letter to Secretary Warren : — 

" They said that they wished the Missionary Union to own the 
pi-operty, for two reasons. (1) If they were required now to raise 
the money to pay for the pi-operty, it would, for at least a year, so 
absorb their contributions, that their schools and home-mission work 
would greatly suffer ; but, 

" (2) They especially wisHed the Union to own the property as 
long as foreign teachers remained among them, as they would then 
be united and happy among themselves ; while, if they owned the 
property, some might wish a teacher from one society, and some from 
another, and thus they might become divided. They said they feared 
to have teachers from two societies, lest they should not agree between 
themselves, and the Karens should be divided, some for one teacher, 
and some for the other." 

It was finally arranged that Mr. Douglass would make the 
purchase in his own name, and at once offer the property to the 
Union, he, meanwhile, taking temporary charge. Mr. Scott's 
deed to Mr. Douglass is dated June 25, 1868. In closing the 
letter announcing his action to Dr. Warren, Mr. Douglass uses 
this language : — 

"As the Sgau Karen churches in this district have from year to 
year, for the last twelve years, contributed more for schools and reli- 
gious objects, furnished more students and candidates for the minis- 
try, and sent out more missionaries, than all the other districts in 
Burma combined (I think this statement is strictly true), I doubt not 
that you will favorably regard the wish of these pastors, and accept 
the offer that I make to you of the property." 



THE MISSIONARY UNION REINSTATED. 341 

In a subsequent letter he says, — 

" Another man is needed here, and another man these Karen pas- 
tors are determined to have, for the educational department. . . . 
Look at what God is doing, — a people that were in pagan night, and 
did not know a letter of the alphabet thirty years ago, now laying 
hundreds and thousands of rupees at the feet of the missionary, and 
demanding a man to teach them, and fit them to work for God 1 " 

The Executive Committee promptly authorized the purchase 
of the property, aud the transfer was made to the Union by 
Mr. Douglass for the exact amount paid by him for it. From 
July until November, Mr. and Mrs. Douglass occupied the 
Beecher house, left vacant by the return of Mr. Scott to Ameri- 
ca. He divided his time and labors between the Burman and 
Karen departments, while his wife gave her time chiefly to 
teaching in the Karen school. In consequence of his over- 
exertion at this time, Mr. Douglass was much worn down, and 
in the following July he succumbed to au attack of bilious- 
fever, to the deep regret of his associates and many friends. 1 

In November, 18G8, a most interesting and profitable meet- 
ing of the Burma Baptist Missionary Convention was held in 
Bassein, on the Sgau Karen compound. The steamer Pioneer 
of Rangoon having been chartered for the occasion, there was 
a large attendance of missionaries and native delegates from 
abroad, as well as large delegations from the jungle villages of 
Bassein. The Karens contributed cheerfully and generously 
for the entertainment of their guests. The work in Bassein 
was duly reported with that of other districts. Not a few pas- 
tors and laymen of Bassein united with the visiting body as 
individuals ; but, with cordiality of feeling increased somewhat, 
there was no general movement towards a formal union with 
the convention. 

The question who should succeed the lamented Thomas in 
this important field, was uppermost in all minds. On the third 

1 For an account of Eev. J. L. Douglass's last sickness and death, see 
Missionary Magazine, November, 1S(J9, p. 417. 



342 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

day of the meeting the first telegram ever sent from the Rooms 
in Boston to the American Baptist missions in Asia gave 
answer. Seven words — "Carpenter transferred to Bassein, 
Smith to Rangoon" — produced a great calm in the minds of 
all, save the delegation of Henthada Karens, who were loath 
to lose their new teacher. As Mr. Carpenter had already re- 
ceived letters from Boston on the subject of a change of work, 
and an urgent invitation from the Bassein pastors * to become 
their leader, he was ready for immediate removal. His only 
experience in station-work had been gained in two vacations 
spent on the Maulmain Karen field ; but, during his connection 
of five years and a half with the theological seminary in Rau- 



1 This letter breathes so excellent a spirit, that we give an exact trans- 
lation: — 

Bassein, Sept. 9, 186S. 

May abundant blessing from God the Father, God the Son, and God the Holy Spirit, 
descend like the morning dew upon you and your household, dear teacher Carpenter! 
We the Karen churches in Bassein address you in these words: — 

When we heard that it had pleased God to call home our dear teacher Thomas, who 
labored so hard among us, and cause him to rest from his spiritual conflict, and give him 
a shining crown of gold which will never fade, we were truly filled with grief. But 
since God saw it to be best thus, we the Bassein Karen churches consented to this act of 
the Divine Will. And now we are left like sheep without a shepherd, like lambs whose 
mother has died and left them. Moreover, when we came down to the city for consulta- 
tion on various matters, we received our brother, teacher Sau Tay's letter, which said 
that he had heard that the Missionary Union had consulted about sending you to us to 
take up the unrusted sickle which teacher Thomas laid down, and reap the ripened har- 
vest. Thereupon we greatly rejoiced. We the churches in Bassein took counsel to- 
gether, and agreed with one heart that you should come and labor among us as teacher 
Thomas did. 

Therefore, when you get this our letter, we hope that both you and mama Carpenter, 
with cheerful consent, and full of the love of God, will come and do God's work among 
us. Thus, when the convention meets in Bassein next November, we beseech you to 
come at once, and remain among us. 

And you, dear teacher, having lived among Karens, know about them. We are weak 
and imperfect in wisdom. In order that we may grow more perfect in these respects, 
our strength is in you, that you will help us abundantly. For this reason, inasmuch as 
you love God, and like his work, with all your heart, we hope that he will be with you 
in every thing you do, and bless you in all. On that account we write you these words. 
In like manner, all of our brethren hope in you, and put their strength in you, that you 
will certainly come. 

(Signed) Myat Keh, Chairman, 

Tuau Dway, Scribe, 
{On behalf of all the Bassein churches). 



THE MISSIONARY UNION REINSTATED. 343 

goon, he had acquired the Karen language, and gained, also, 
a personal acquaintance with the younger Bassein pastors and 
a goodly company of the best educated young men in that 
district. 

Returning to Rangoon with the convention party for their 
household effects, the Carpenters again embarked, and reached 
their new home in Bassein Nov. 24. They were joined in a 
few days by Miss De Wolfe of the Nova-Scotia missionary 
society, who rendered valuable assistance in the school until 
her transfer to Henthada in 1870, and soon after by Miss I. 
"Watson, who has served the school faithfully most of the years 
since. 

Various duties pressed upon the young and inexperienced 
missionary. He wished first of all to make the acquaintance 
of his people in their homes, and thus to learn at once the 
geography of his field, and the circumstances and character of 
his widely scattered flock. The week following his arrival, 
therefore, he started on a tour to the southernmost group of 
churches. And, throughout the travelling season, every day 
that could be spared from the pressing work in town was spent 
in touring ; the result being, that, before the end of April, forty- 
four of the churches were visited, besides scattered hamlets 
of Christians and heathen. Sermons were preached in every 
place, women's prayer-meetings revived, the schools and cases 
of discipline attended to, large numbers of Bibles, hymn-books, 
and school-books sold, and the people made to feel that they 
once more had a teacher and mama whom they could call their 
own. To the surprise of the new missionaries, it was found 
that not a few of the Christian villages even had never been 
visited by a white face before ; and, with much to encourage, 
they could not be blind to the signs, in many places, of igno- 
rance, superstition, and worldliness, that had impressed Mr. 
Thomas so painfully. 

Mr. Beecher's description of the manner in which many of 
the pastors had entered upon their work will throw much 
light upon the condition of a field which has been sometimes 



344 BASSEIN KAREN .MISSION. 

spoken of by those ignorant of its real state as "a well-tilled 
garden." 

" The remarkable manner in which many of the Bassein churches 
were first gathered, and their first pastors chosen, operates strongly 
against their ordination and against their present usefulness. When 
the gospel was first proclaimed among the Karens of this district, it 
was accepted in many places by whole families and whole communi- 
ties, and that, too, immediately and almost implicitly. They were 
ready to begin to worship the true God before they could properly 
be taught how to call upon his name. Educated preachers were no- 
where to be found. In this extremity, each community selected from 
its own number the elder whom they thought best fitted to conduct; 
their religious services. lie was brought to the missionary, taught 
a few weeks or months how to read, if he had not previously learned, 
then the first principles of faith in Christ, the necessity of abandoning 
all heathen practices, and how to perform the duties incumbent upon 
pastors. He was furnished with a Testament, a hymn-book, and a 
few catechisms, and duly commissioned to the ministerial office. It 
was the best and only thing that could be done at the time, and these 
men have done an important work. If they could have been satisfied 
to serve the brief period they were really needed, all would have been 
well. One-fifth, however, of the pastors of this mission, are still 
composed of this class, who remain incorrigibly illiterate, superstitious, 
and seriously obstructive. They can never be worthy of ordination ; 
and, being well supported by church-members who are their own rela- 
tives, they cannot be made to feel that it would be for the interest 
of the cause for them to resign, and allow some of the many educated 
young preachers to take their places. 

'• It will be seen from these statements, that the appointment and 
dismissal of native pastors is very seldom in this mission dependent 
upon the will of the missionary. Nowhere in the world are Baptist 
churches more fully or more provokingly independent in all their 
church polity. They are free enough in seeking the advice and aid 
of the missionary, and just as free in neglecting it, or setting it aside. 
But this is, on the whole, much more cause of rejoicing than of regret : 
they will learn all the sooner how to govern and provide for them- 
selves." — Missionary Magazine, July, 1800, p. 253. 

There was indeed a great and difficult work of discipline to 



THE MISSIONARY UNION REINSTATED. 345 

be done hi Bassein ; and that work must begin, if possible, 
among the pastors. The ordained pastors and a considerable 
number of those unordained were stanch Christian men, and 
intelligent enough to know, that so long as immorality and 
superstitious rites were practised by a number of the pastors, 
with little attempt at concealment even, there could be no hope 
of improvement in the Christian communities at large On 
those faithful pastors, and on the promised presence and help 
of the great Head of the church, was the missionary's sole 
reliance. 

In his first northern tour the new missionary found in one 
of the largest churches au uneducated boy of sixteen, the 
son of the late pastor, duly installed in the pastor's office by 
vote of the church, the church virtually without an instructor 
or guide, and on the down grade to destruction. Two days of 
hard work with individuals and with the assembled church, in 
expounding the indispensable scriptural qualifications of a pas- 
tor, resulted in the reconsideration of their action, and in the 
appointment to the pastorate of an old seminary student, a 
very suitable man, nominated b}' themselves. The subsequent 
peace and prosperity of the church at Mee-thwaydike abun- 
dantly proves the wisdom of their action. 

Before the close of 1870 three of the older unordained pas- 
tors were clearly convicted of practising heathen enchantments, 
or of permitting them to be practised, in cases of sickness 
in their families, or in their herds, and were duly disfellow- 
shipped, and set aside from the ministry. Another man, in 
middle life, was convicted of drunkenness, of sabbath-breaking, 
and of threatening the life of one of his deacons. He, also, 
was set aside by the unanimous vote of thirty-nine of his fel- 
low ministers. Another elderly man was set aside for forgery 
and other grave reasons. Two others, men of ability and wide 
influence, were commonly reported to be guilty of adultery, 
and by this and other offences to have lost the "good report 
of those without." 

As the first of these cases (that of Pah Yeh, for mauy years 



346 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

the unordained pastor of the church in Shankweng) has been 
commented upon unfavorably in this country by those who 
have heard only the offender's side of the story, we will give 
a brief resume of the case, which may be easily verified by 
the records of the council on file in Bassein. It is safe to say, 
that, while the best pastors felt the need of action, no action 
whatever would have been taken but for the missionary. The 
case, therefore, may be another illustration of the supposed 
stretch of authority exercised by missionaries in foreign lands. 
Let the masters of Israel read, and then tell us how far the 
theory of church independence is to be carried in heathen lands, 
when truth and righteousness, ay, and the very existence of 
the church itself, are imperilled ; also, whether Paul's inter- 
ference with the independence of the church in Corinth (1 Cor. 
v.) was placed on record simply to show what an apostle 
might do on occasion, but a missionaiy, held responsible by all 
the world, and, as he believes, by the Saviour himself, for the 
good morals and Christian character of the churches under his 
oversight, may never do. 

As in a well-known case in Pittsburg, Penn., and as in the 
majority of cases in heathen lands, where pastors are guilty of 
moral delinquency, action did not originate with the church. 
It was not until the pastor's conduct through a series of years 
had become a public scandal, that other pastors in the associa- 
tion, feeling that the cause of Christianity, and the character of 
the Christian ministry, were suffering serious reproach, brought 
the matter to the notice of the missionary. At nis request, 
therefore, and with the consent of the church, a council, com- 
posed of twelve ordained pastors, sixteen unordained pastors, 
and five lay elders from abroad, with the missionaiy, assembled 
in Shankweng. Dec. 7, 1870. 1 The brethren were hospitably 
received, and kindly treated by the church throughout their stay. 
The accused was present, with his friends and one of his alleged 



1 For the opinion formed by Rev. B. C. Thomas of this church and its 
pastor in 1857, see p. 27(3. 



THE MISSIONARY UNION REINSTATED. 347 

paramours ; and every opportunity was given for a full and fair 
heariug. Probably no council of native Christians was ever 
held in Burma of equal numbers, or weight of character, none 
in which more time or pains were taken to arrive at the whole 
truth and a just decision. Ten long sessions were held in the 
course of three days. Many witnesses were examined ; and all 
the evidence and the arguments offered on both sides were 
carefully weighed, and a unanimous decision was reached. 
While there was not a doubt, probably, iu the mind of any 
member of the council, that an adulterous connection existed 
during the trading-tour of three or four months in Upper Burma, 
which Pah Yeh made with a woman of doubtful character, 
with whom, as he confessed, he lived on the most intimate terms 
during the whole time, while his relations to another (a Bur- 
man) woman at an earlier period had been the occasion of 
grave scandal, the finding of the council was simply this: (1) 
That Pah Yeh had left his church for months together to engage 
in trade ; (2) That on these expeditions he had habitually 
broken the sabbath ; (3) That he had been guilty of gross 
improprieties, amounting to a strong presumption of adultery. 
For these reasons, he being no longer of good report before 
the world, the council recommended his exclusion from the 
church, and the withdrawal from him of fellowship as a minis- 
ter of Christ. 

Will it be believed, that notwithstanding all the evidence, 
and the decision and the entreaties of the council, a large 
minority of the church, composed mostly of his relatives, de- 
termined to adhere to Pah Yeh still ; and adhere to him they 
have, up to the present time. It is our painful duty to add, 
that, if it had not been for aid and comfort extended at another 
mission-station to the delinquent pastor and the ill-advised 
faction which followed him, their repentance, and return to duty, 
might probably have been secured. As it was, the repeated 
letters and visits both of committees and of missionaries were 
iu vain. A majority of the church, with a nephew of Pah Yeh 
for pastor, continued in the fellowship of the association ; but 



348 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

the minority stubbornly adhered to their old leader. Unfortu- 
nately it has been found in more than one mission, that there is 
quite as much danger that the principle of non-interference 
will be violated by adherents of the same society as by those 
of rival societies, and that the ruin resulting from such inter- 
ference may be even more irreparable. 

The other case, exactly similar in its nature, but occurring 
later, took a different turn. The church (really the pastor) 
refused in insulting terms to receive a council, or to have any 
thing to do with one. A committee was sent to visit the church, 
and induce them to change this decision, but in vain. The 
facts being known to all the pastors, the only thing that could 
be done was done at the meeting of the association in Mohgoo, 
March, 1871. The pastors present, resolving themselves into 
a council, unanimously withdrew from Shway Byu the hand of 
fellowship, basing their action on 1 Tim. iii. 2, 7 ; and the 
church was advised to seek a new pastor. This they would 
not do. The year following. .Shway Byu was called to his last 
accouut. It was then hoped that the church would return to 
their duty ; but, instead of doing so, they received as pastor 
Moung Coompany (referred to. p. 309), a confessed adulterer, 
and fugitive from debts ; since which time, under the fostering 
influences alluded to in the previous paragraph, the last state 
of that church has been worse than the first. After five or six 
years of patient effort and waiting, the name of the church 
was finally stricken from the roll of the association in 187G. 
A few of its members have united with neighboring churches, 
but the main body keep up their worship ; and Coompany, hav- 
ing received ordination at the hands of Pah Yeh and two or 
three laymen, administers the ordinances to his own church 
and to that in Shankweng. 1 The end is not yet ; but that these 

1 Although it is in accordance with Old-Testament and apostolic prece- 
dent, we publish the above facts with reluctance and pain, actuated by 
the hope that a wider knowledge of the trials that beset missionary work 
in every land may lead to wider and more intelligent sympathy, and es- 
pecially to a more scrupulous observance on mission-fields of the vital 
principle of non-interference. 



TIIE MISSIONARY UNION REINSTATED. 349 

and other most difficult and painful cases of discipline were 
justified and approved by the great body of pastors and church- 
members throughout the district, is proved conclusively by their 
harmonious and enthusiastic following-out of the plans of their 
new leader, at the cost of great sacrifices, through a long series 
of 3 7 ears. 

In addition to the need of discipline, there had been for 
several years a falling-off in the number of men available for 
home-mission work. At the first meeting of the Ministerial 
Conference after Mr. Carpenter's arrival, in May, 18G9, only 
two men presented themselves as candidates for that service. 
It had come to pass that nearly all of the contributions were 
being divided up among the pastors of the smaller churches, 
the larger allowances going generally to the men who would 
"put on the poorest mouth." When the subject was fairly 
presented to the brethren, it seemed reasonable to them, that, 
while a church of five or six families could not ordinarily sup- 
port their pastor, the very fewness of their numbers afforded 
a reason why they need not take up all of his time. The pas- 
tor of such a flock, for example, might give to each of his 
families as much care as the pastor of a flock three times as 
large could give to his, and do it in one half of the time, per- 
haps, leaving the other half free for labor among the heathen, 
for which the Home Mission Society would gladly give him fair 
remuneration. The following minute was discussed, therefore, 
and finally adopted unanimously, and placed upon record at the 
meeting six months later. The result proved that the measure 
was a long step in the right direction. 

"This is not an eleemosynary society, to assist (1) feeble churches 
because they are feeble, or (2) poor ministers because they are poor. 
It is a missionary society, to help on the work of evangelizing Bassein ; 
and it aims to do this by sending out (1) its own special agents, or 
(2) by ' helping those who help themselves,' i.e, feeble churches that 
are willing to grow strong by enlightening others (the rule of the 
Eastern Turkey mission was here quoted from the ' Missionary 
Herald'), and by assisting poor but faithful ministers, by giving 



ooO BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

them a money equivalent for evangelical work actually done anion. 
the heathen or scattered disciples. The very inability of their churches: 
to support them is evidence that the disciples are few, and hence that 
the preacher has time for outside labor : therefore 

" Resolved, That henceforth we cannot, as a rule, help any church in 
which there are not signs of healthy growth in Christian graces and 
activity, if not in numbers. Nor will money be paid to any preacher, 
whether local or itinerant, who does not present a written and accu- 
rate report of missionary work performed among the destitute, Chris- 
tians or heathen, Sgaus, Pwos, or Burmans; and the amount paid 
will iu all cases be proportioned to the amount of labor bestowed." 

Considerable school-work had been done since 1858, mainly 
by Karen assistants, and yet only an impression had been made 
upon the dense mass of ignorance in the Bassein churches. In 
1868-G9, the year of Mr. Carpenter's arrival, a majority of the 
adult church-members were returned as unable to read or write ; 
and of the readers, the less said about the amount of their 
reading and understanding, the pleasanter for the author and 
his readers. It should be said, however, that, at that time, 209 
copies only of the Karen Scriptures (Bibles and New Testa- 
ments) were found in the hands of 5,988 church-members. 
Under the stimulus of a grant from government of from fifteen 
hundred to two thousand rupees a year in aid of their jungle 
schools, the number of pupils had risen to 1,321 ; but what were 
these among a Christian population of school-going age of not 
less than six thousand? And what would the bare learning to 
read avail, if the practice of reading was to be dropped at the 
end of from three to twelve months of schooling ? 

The missionary could not disconnect the signs of rampant 
superstition from the prevailing ignorance. On the one hand, 
all the native missionaries had gone out from the schools, such 
as they were. In the several churches, also, the degree of 
benevolence and of the missionary spirit was exactly propor- 
tional to the high or low grade of the village school. On the 
other, the outbreaking immoralit}' and heathenism were in the 
villages where ignorance prevailed from the parsonage through- 



TEE MISSIONARY UNION REINSTATED. 351 

out the parish. He could not forget that the third generation 
of Christians, from the great ingathering under Abbott, was 
now coming on to the stage. While God had mercifully given 
special grace to the first generation, to make up for their 
involuntary ignorance, was it not sheer presumption to count on 
a continuance of that special grace to the second and third 
generations, when the ordinary means for the improvement of 
minds and hearts, God's most sacred trust to his children, 
were neglected? It seemed to him worse than useless to go 
on baptizing, and founding churches, leaving the disciples with 
indifferent schools, and with Bibles closed and unread. 

If possible, a fresh impulse must be given to the jungle 
schools ; and, with increased numbers in the town school, there 
must be an increase in thoroughness, and an extension in the 
courses of study. As one means of effecting the first object, 
twenty-seven of his old pupils from the seminary in Rangoon, 
and three young women, were provided with places, and set at 
work teaching during their long vacation in 1869, in addition 
to the force of teachers regularly employed. The number of 
pupils in the association quickly rose to 2,057, a number not 
since equalled, we are sorry to say. By combined effort the 
number of Bibles within the limits of the association was in- 
creased in two years to 321, and of New Testaments to 815, 
mostly by purchase for cash ; 1 while the number of church- 
members able to read was brought up in the same time to 3,735, 
and the number unable to read was reduced to 2,554, — a report 
of progress only which left numerous and high mountains yet 
to be removed. 

To the town school, Mrs. Carpenter in charge of the new 
female department and in the vernacular, assisted by Misses 



1 Up to Dec. 31, 1871, Mr. Carpenter had received for Scriptures and 
books sold in Bassein cash to the amount of Es. 8,098-6-10. Besides the 
sales in town, the mission-boat always carried a box of Bibles and other 
books for sale, wherever it went. The sales might have been increased, 
no doubt, by the employment of special colportors; but it was thought that 
the increased expense would outweigh the advantage. 



352 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

Watson and DeWolfe in the English department, would give 
their invaluable assistance. The Thomas house, not needed 
at the time for a dwelling, could be easily adapted to the pur- 
poses of a general chapel, and schoolrooms for the English 
department. The school-buildings, erected by Mr. Beecher ten 
years before under great difficulties, had now reached a con- 
dition of dilapidation and ruin. All of them, moreover, and 
the two mission-houses as well, being covered with thatch, and 
connected by low, thatched passage-ways, the whole would be 
swept by fire in half an hour, if a fire should break out at any 
point. It was like living in a powder-magazine, with smokers 
all around. Preparations for permanent and more commodious 
school-buildings must be begun at once ; and, if possible, the 
heavy bills must be paid without calling upon the over-burdened 
society in America. 

Twenty days after the arrival of the new teacher in Bassein, 
the pastors came together, at his request, for consultation. 
Plans had been drawn for their inspection, — one for laying out 
the compound anew, dispersing the native buildings somewhat, 
and arranging for a park of fruit-trees in the centre, so as to 
give the place the aspect of a model Karen village ; the other 
for the erection of fourteen substantial cottage dormitories and 
teachers' houses, each twenty-seven feet square, with teak roof 
and walls. The labor of grading and laying out the compound 
would be performed by the pupils without cost in money ; but 
the buildings projected would cost about six thousand rupees, 
and the missionary quietly proposed that the pastors should 
then and there pledge their churches to raise the amount within 
the ensuing three years. 

The changes proposed, and the plan of the buildings, the 
pastors had already heartily indorsed ; but they were evidently 
taken aback by the idea that they were to raise the money from 
their people. After a little delay, J. P. Sahnay, the head 
teacher in the English school, educated in America, arose, and 
said that the buildings were just what the school needed and 
must have ; but the teacher, being new to Bassein, was unaware, 



T11E MISSIONARY UNION REINSTATED. 353 

probably, of the great poverty of the Karens. "Why," said 
he, "there is not one of these pastors here to-day who has a 
rupee in his bag [quite true probably. — Ed.] ; yet the teacher 
asks them to raise six thousand rupees from their people, who 
are as poor as they are. There is a great deal of money in 
America. Cannot the teacher get the money more easily from 
there?" To Sahnay's credit, it should be said that this was 
the last occasion on which he ever hung back, or seemed to 
oppose the plans of the missionary in charge. He became a 
thorough convert to the doctrine of self-help for his people ; 
and he gave freely, after a time, of his money and of his influ- 
ence, up to the time of his lamented death, nine years later. 
In reply to this suggestion, which expressed the desire of every 
Karen in the room, and in the district too, for that matter, 
the burdens of the American Christians growing out of the 
late war were spoken of, and plans set forth by which the poor- 
est of the people could make special offerings for this object, 
to the amount of at least a rupee each in three years. The 
result was. that the pastors gave the pledge with some hesita- 
tion ; and the work of reconstruction and enlargement begun 
that day has not yet ceased, although the six thousand rupees 
has been raised and expended more than ten times over. 

It was pleasant indeed to see how the interest and the cour- 
age of that dear people grew, as the work progressed from 
stage to stage. That very season, before the rains, three nice 
cottages were completed, and the debt contracted at the outset 
fully discharged. The next year four more were finished and 
paid for, and the third year seven, making the full number 
required; and considerable timber, etc., was on hand for fur- 
ther operations. Instead of the six thousand rupees which 
they had pledged with trembling, they had paid in over eight 
thousand ; and they were ready to go on with preparations for 
a new girls' school-building, which was much needed. 

Marking the quick response to every effort made for their 
improvement, and the unrivalled advantages of Bassein as a 
location for the higher Karen schools, Mr. Carpenter, ignorant 



354 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

of an}' previous movement in that direction, addressed a letter 
to his revered friend and late senior associate, the Rev. Dr. 
Binney, dated Oct. 4, 1869, in which he strongly advised the 
transfer of the Karen Theological Seminary from Rangoon to 
Bassein. The reasons urged were briefly these : that, as more 
than half of the teachers and pupils in the seminary were from 
Bassein, 1 that place would be more accessible, and really more 
central to the major part of the constituency of the seminary, 
than an} 7 other ; that the seminary would exert a more powerful 
indirect influence for good upon the large circle of churches in 
Bassein than it could hope to do anywhere else ; that it would 
have sympathy and pecuniary assistance from those chui'ches 
to a far greater extent than it could expect to receive elsewhere ; 
finally, that Bassein is the place of all others for a successful 
preparatory vernacular and English school in connection with 
the seminary. Knowing as we now do the position which 
Dr. Binney had taken with reference to previous attempts to 
move the seminary westward, it is evident that but one answer 
could come from him. His reply, which lies before us, is brief, 
but characteristically kind : — 

" Respecting the removal of the school to Bassein, I am not sur- 
prised that the subject should occur to you. Before driving a stake 
in Rangoon, I fully canvassed that point in connection with Ilenthada 
and Maul main. I knew that Bassein had the points you mention 
strongly in its favor. Beecher wished it might be in Bassein." 

Then he goes on to give as the determining reasons for his 
decision the expressed wish of the Executive Committee, and 
the fact that Rangoon is the metropolis of British Burma, and 
more central than any other station. In closing his remarks on 
this subject, he adds, — 

" Still, it may be a question yet, especially respecting geueral edu- 
cation. Respecting that school [since called a ' college '], though it 

1 In 1869 Bassein alone had fifty-five young men studying in the Karen 
Theological Seminary, and thirteen preachers at work in the Toungoo and 
Prome districts. 



THE MISSIONARY UNION REINSTATED. 3^5 

should be general [i.e., for all the stations], I do not feel so certain 
that it should be in Rangoon, especially while so many of the pupils 
would be mere children. It is a matter for grave thought." 

In a letter written a month later he says, — 

" Press your English school hard. Make it, as far as you can, a 
specialty. Have only a select number that continue after the first 
year. One year is enough to indicate whether a boy or girl had 
better be retained in that [department of the] school or not." 

To increase and strengthen the tide of benevolence in the 
churches, the duty of giving liberally and systematically was 
pressed upon the pastors as a body. At the regular meeting 
of the Conference, in October, 1870, after a citation of " blind 
Johannes'" argument from the "Missionary Herald," all of 
the pastors, and, not long after, the assistant teachers in the 
Institute, with hardly an exception, signed a written agreement 
to give to the cause of the Lord not less than one-tenth of 
all their income. This agreement was faithfully observed for 
ten years ; and to this self-sacrificing example of that rare 
company of men is to be attributed, in no small degree, our 
subsequent success in raising large sums of money from a 
comparatively poor people. 

Another important work kept in mind was that of seeking 
out and ordaining suitable men as pastors and evangelists. It 
was a work that could not be hastened faster than men suitably 
qualified and tested were supplied. At the meeting of the 
association in Kyootoo, in 1870, four were ordained at the re- 
quest of their respective churches, who have since been true 
pillars in the spiritual temple; viz., Deeloo, Pohtoo, Too Po, 
and Toomway. The year after, at Mohgoo, Thah-yway and 
Poo Goung were ordained, — the latter as an evangelist, for 
which office he had special qualifications ; making twenty-two 
ordained ministers then laboring in connection with the Sgau 
Karen churches of Bassein. Other worthy pastors were invited 
to present themselves as candidates, but were hindered by 
excessive modesty. 



356 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

At the two associations last named, special efforts were made 
to bring the Bassein churches into thorough sympathy with the 
Burma Baptist Missionary Convention, in order that, with other 
advantages, their zeal for foreign missions might find therein 
freer vent and more generous scope. It was thought that we 
had succeeded. Resolutions of sympathy and active co-opera- 
tion were passed with apparent unanimity and cordiality ; but, 
two or three years later, complications arose which dashed these 
hopes for a time. 

Meanwhile, notwithstanding the trying cases of discipline, 
and the heavy drafts on their liberality, the ordinary blessing 
of the Spirit upon the Word preached in much weakness by the 
native brethren and their missionary, was not withheld. The 
number of baptisms among the Sgau churches for the four years 
ending February, 1872, was 1,125, — an annual average of 281, 
to an average of 231 for the eleven years previous. The num- 
ber of itinerants in the home-field, under the regular pay of the 
Home Mission Societ}', was not quite up to the average of 
former years perhaps ; but a considerably larger amount than 
usual of unpaid, voluntary work had been done by the settled 
pastors and lay-elders. 

Prematurely, after only three years and a half had been 
spent in this most interesting and engrossing work, Mr. and 
Mrs. Carpenter found themselves obliged to leave Bassein for 
temporary rest and change in the United States. As in the 
case of his predecessors, long marches on the feverish Arakan 
coast, night-watches, and heavy responsibilities and anxieties, 
had thus quickly reduced the missionar}- from a state of vigor- 
ous health to one of invalidism ; while the health of his efficient 
and devoted companion was seriously impaired. Secretary 
Warren had written, early in 18G9 : — 

"One thing the Committee want, — hold the Karens together, and 
hold them to us, even if you must give them another man to be asso- 
ciated with you. We shall look for a young man, and, if you desire 
it, send him on at the earliest day possible." 



THE MISSIONARY UNION REINSTATED. 357 

Such was the weight of the load, that the new incumbent 
speedily sought the relief which had been promised. He wrote 
for the second man again and again. At the association, in 
March, 1870, the Karens unanimously invited the Rev. Melvin 
Jameson, recently arrived in Bassein, under appointment to the 
Burman department, to become their missionary with Mr. Car- 
penter. Permission was granted by the Executive Committee 
to make this change, but Mr. Jameson's decision was "to 
hammer away at the Burman rock." 

It was not until near the close of January, 1872, that Rev. 
H. M. Hopkinson, a graduate of Colby University and Newton 
Institution, reached Bassein with Mrs. Hopkinson. The Car- 
penters, on their way to the United States, met them in Rangoon, 
and gave them such information and advice as they could, in a 
brief day or two, at another place than Bassein itself. Mr. 
Hopkinson was a man of piety and ability. He found Misses 
Watson and Norris, J. P. Sahnay, and a well-trained corps of 
native teachers, ready to work with him in the school, and a 
noble band of pastors and preachers ready to work with him 
in the district ; but he labored under great disadvantages. To 
place any man fresh from home in tropical Burma, with not a 
word of the new language at his command, and to roll upon 
him from the first day of his arrival the burdens that necessa- 
rily devolve upon the missionary in Bassein, is cruel, as well 
as most impolitic. He also had to struggle from the outset 
with ill health in his family and in his own person. During 
the three years of his incumbency, if nothing new or startling 
was attempted, it is creditable enough that there was no disas- 
ter anywhere, and no falling off, but a small increase both in 
the number of baptisms and in the amount of the annual con- 
tributions. He continued on the field until 1875, when he av:is 
obliged, by continued and increasing ill health, to return with 
his family to America. Miss Norris (later Mrs. Armstrong of 
the Nova-Scotia Society) had earl}' left Bassein for another 
field ; while Miss A. L. Stevens of Illinois, who had joined the 
school in 1872, was obliged after one year to return home, on 



358 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

account of serious disease. Both were ladies of rare qualifica- 
tions for the work. Their places were filled after a time by 
others, who will be noticed in the next chapter. 

Meanwhile, what of the Pwo department? Mr. Van Meter's 
labors among that interesting but somewhat unstable people 
had been abundant and not unfruitful. He gives the following 
abstract of his work for the year 1867 : — 

"I have given almost my entire time and effort to jungle labor, 
having gone out every month of the year, in all thirty-two times. 
The number of visits made [to villages], at some places repeated sev- 
eral times, is 80. The whole number of miles travelled is 2,341, on 
foot 343 (barefoot about 50), all in direct missionary work in the Bas- 
sein district. The greatest distance of round trip has been 200 miles. 
Baptized, 45. 

" I have preached or conducted religious exercises about five hun- 
dred times, usually three times, and occasionally as often as five times, 
in one day. During these visits I am constantly distributing books 
(for pay where they are able to pay), establishing schools, prescribing 
for the sick, in some cases where another day's neglect might have 
been serious, if not fatal. At the same time I have endeavored to 
instruct tbem as to the care of their houses, themselves, and their 
children ; matters, perhaps, which to some would appear of a trifling 
nature, but really affecting their health and comfort to a great degree. 
Especially have I had to call attention to the severity of the tasks too 
often imposed on the women. The gospel for woman is still a great 
need among the Karens. I consider nothing beneath my attention 
that affects then* welfare." 

Mr. Van Meter's ideas of jungle travel, outfit, etc., as given 
in the Magazine for January, 18G8 (p. 18), would not, proba- 
bly, be fully accepted by all ; but his ideas and methods are at 
least worth reading and considering by all missionaries. Miss 
S. J. Higby joined the mission in June, 1868, and soon began 
to do excellent and much-needed work in the Pwo school. 
The statistics of this branch of the mission for 1868 are as 
follows : — 

•' Churches, 19 ; baptized, 33 ; church-members, 767 ; nominal 
Christians, 727; total Christian community, 1,494. Preachers, 52; 



TIIE MISSIONARY UNION REINSTATED. 359 

ordained, 6. Pupils in town school, 07 ; in twelve village schools, 
237; total, 304. Total contributions and expenditures, Rs. 2,582. 
Books sold, Rs. 003. ' Burman Messengers,' for the most part taken 
and paid for by the people, 220." 

In October Mr. Van Meter wrote of the formation of the 
nineteenth Pwo church in Bassein, and added, — 

" During no one year have more been reported of those who 
have forsaken their heathen rites and relatives, and of those who have 
pledged themselves to become Christians. At Pantanau I baptized 
six." 

During the month of June, 18G9, he was laid aside with a 
bad leg and a head affection, accompanied with deafness. In 
July he watched with Mr. Douglass through his long last 
illness, taking his turn, alternate nights, with Mr. Carpenter. 
His health suffered perceptibly under the strain. A little later 
he found that he must leave Burma ; and by making short stages, 
by the overland route, he finally reached New York, but so 
reduced in strength that he could not rally. He died in Mott- 
eille, N.Y., Aug. 18, 1870, only a few weeks after landing. 1 

His excellent wife, Mrs. Helen L. (Hooker) Van Meter, 
remained in charge of the mission for a little more than one 
year. She exerted herself to keep up the work. A few of the 
weaker churches, set off by her husband a little prematurely 
perhaps, she recommended to re-unite with the mother-churches 
from which they had been taken, thus reducing the number 
of churches, but adding to their strength. Her varied and 
heavy cares proved too much for her ; and she, too, died after 
a painful illness, on the 27th of August, 1871, the last sur- 
vivor of the three missionary couples who were associated in 
labor at Sandoway in the early time. 

Rev. Sabin T. Gooclell and wife came to the relief of Miss 
Higby in the following March. He took hold of the work 

1 An appropriate notice of Rev. H. L. Van Meter's life and labors may 
be found in the Missionary Magazine, October, 1870, p. 370. 



360 



BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 



with such vigor and discretion as to gain the regard and confi- 
dence of the Pwo Christians in an unusual degree. To earnest 
piety, Mr. Goodell added good executive ability, and tact in 
teaching. He had just completed the translation and publica- 
tion of " Stilson's Arithmetic " in Pwo Karen, he had secured 
from the churches under his care three or four thousand rupees 
for the erection of a substantial school dormitory, and was 
moving on strongly in all kinds of mission-work, when he, too, 
was called away after a distressing illness, Nov. 16, 1877, at 
the early age of forty-one. 1 Miss C. H. Rand, coming from 
Maulmain, had joined the Bassein Pwo Mission in 187G. Mrs. 
Goodell returning to the United States in 1878, Miss Rand con- 
tinued alone in the work for some months. In May, 1879, she 
was united in marriage to the Rev. J. T. Elwell, in whose 
charge the Pwo mission remains at the date of this writing. 

The remarkable mortalit}* in the Bassein mission is exhibited 
in the following: table : — 



E. L. Abbott . 
J. S. Beecher . 
B. C. Thomas . 
J. L. Douglass 
II. L. Van Meter 
Mrs. Van Meter 
W. M. Scott . 
S. T. Goodell . 





i ■ i . 


» c> 


• i^ j 


^.ii 


'> * "«J 


inii, 


-IV 1 


*<*> 


(< 


1866 


U 


46 


(i 


S months 


3 


« 


il 


1808 


(( 


48 


« 


2 


a 


9 


« 


a 


1869 


i( 


46 


a 


5 


a 


15 


a 


a 


1870 


a 


45 


u 


10 


a 


27 


a 


a 


1871 


(« 


46 


(< 


4 


<< 


8 


a 


a 


1872 


« 


43 


H 


(about). 






a 


1877 


(< 


41 


«« 


5 


M 


24 


a 



Besides the above, there were Mrs. Abbott, the first Mrs. 
Beecher, and the first Mrs. Douglass, who died early, also the 
gifted Maria C. Manning ; while others have been driven home 
prematurely by disease. The missionaries who have lived 
longest in Bassein are confident, that, for the tropics, it is un- 
usually healthy. The opinion of the heathen is, that witchcraft 
alone will account for the mortality. "We believe, on the con- 
trary, that overwork, and excess of care, are the true explana- 



1 Rev. Dr. Jameson's interesting obituary can be found in tbe Mis- 
sionary Magazine for March, 1878, p. 88. 



THE MISSIONARY UNION REINSTATED. 3G1 

tion. When the duties of all pastorates at home, or the 
management of all railway lines, or the burdens of all college 
presidents, are equally heavy and wearing, we may assume that 
all positions in our foreign mission-field are equally onerous, 
but not before. Until the work of the Sgau Karen mission in 
Bassein is subdivided between two or three men, it will continue 
to be heavier than the work of any other mission-post in Burma, 
and the certainty that the missionary in charge will prematurely 
break down and return, or break down and die, will continue. 
Is it right or necessary that such an alternative should exist, 
when the second man so often asked for by the Karens and 
their overburdened teachers would probably do away with it ? 

More than fifty years ago Dr. Judson united with his mis- 
sionary associates in the following pra}-er : — 

" Have mercy on the theological seminaries, and hasten the time 
when one-half of all who yearly enter the ministry shall be taken 
by thine Holy Spirit, and driven into the wilderness, feeling a sweet 
necessity laid upon them, and the precious love of Christ and of 
souls constraining them." 

O ye young men now dedicating the strength and richness 
of your lives to Christ's work ! cast not your eyes on the 
high places in Zion, nor seek for the pleasant places near at 
hand; look away yonder to that "thin red line," now advan- 
cing, now retreating, in the forefront of the battle in pagan 
lands. If you have no pity for the worn and wasted standard- 
bearers falling there, at least let the deep organ-tones of your 
ascending Lord, the Crucified, sounding down the ages, bidding 
you "Go, disciple all nations," arouse 3-011 to duty; and let 
the accompaniment to that divine voice, the low wail of eight 
hundred millions of heathen perishing in their sins, without 
hope, and without God, lend wings to your feet and a holy 
unction to the glad tidings which you bear. For Christ and 
the heathen's sake volunteer for the work abroad ! 



CHAPTER XIX. 

1875-1880. 

" Human nature remaining, as it is in the best of men, imperfect in its 
judgments and imperfectly sanctified, and trained towards perfection, as 
our regenerated human nature is trained by the Master, by trial, by bur- 
den-bearing, by debate, and even by harsh collisions with the imperfections 
of others, including our true brethren, we need not wonder at a partial 
and transitory dissonance, or even at broad divergences, of opinion and 
feeling. Such collisions and the consequent thwarting of endeavor must 
be expected and accepted, often hailed even, as indispensable to progress, 
and as preparatory to our final union in fuller light." — Missionary Maga- 
zine, 1855, p. 158. 

One more attempt to make Bassein the seat of an advanced 
school is now added to the many which have preceded. Mr. 
Carpenter returned to Burma early in April, 1874, as president 
of the Rangoon Baptist College, so called, an institution then 
recently opened in response to the united request of the Karen 
missionaries. The missionaries to other races had not joined 
in the request ; and it was generally understood that the school 
was to be mainly, if not exclusively, for the benefit of the 
Karens. 1 To his great disappointment, Mr. Carpenter found, 

1 The recent throwing open of the College to pupils of all races and 
creeds, without distinction, seems to be unacceptable thus far to the Ka- 
rens. Nor would it have been agreed to, probably, by the Karen missiona- 
ries of a former generation. Mr. Abbott wrote as follows on the subject 
of a seminary for the Karens, Sept. 17, 1838 ; and, so far as we know, his 
views remained unchanged to the time of his death : — 

"A professor in the Burman seminary can never at the same time be a 
professor of a Karen seminary, — no, never. If any thing is ever done to 
prepare the young men of the Karen jungles to preach the gospel of God's 
362 



03 
> 




LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING S1AKES. 363 

on his arrival, serious differences of view, and dissatisfaction 
with the location which had been selected. He also found little 
evidence of a disposition to sink differences in order to pro- 
mote the growth of that which was hoped to be a college in 
embryo. Comiug back to Rangoon as he left it in 18G8, with 
little thought of the grave moral and pecuniar} - disadvantages 
of the metropolis as a place for training jungle youth for hum- 
ble, self-denying work in the jungles and mountains, he, never- 
theless, could not avoid contrasting his new surroundings in a 
great city, cut off from all Karen support and from almost all 
intercourse with the people to whom his life was devoted, with 



dear Son, it must be doue by a man expressly, exclusively appointed to that 
work by the Board; and the quicker they appoint their man, the better. As 
regards the qualifications of such a man, all I have to say is, that the 
Board should appoint just such a man as they would appoint over a theo- 
logical seminary in the United States. . . . 

" Such an institution must be decidedly and distinctively Karen, not only 
as regards its professor, but its native language. It •will never do to make 
it a part, or parcel, or department, of a Burman institution; because that 
would frustrate the whole plan. As regards the importance of establish- 
ing a Karen literature, I will now say nothing; as no doubt the Board have 
heard much on that subject. Such an institution must be not only Karen 
as to its literature, but as to its location. I can never (with my present 
views) send the Karen young men of this vicinity to a Burman institution; 
although every thing else but the location be decidedly Karen, so far as 
Karens are concerned. Where the Burman theological seminary will be 
eventually located is doubtful, as the brethren are not agreed. But, at 
whatever place, let the Karen theological seminary be somewhere else. 
In this view I shall be sustained by every Karen missionary. 

" There is not a subject within the scope of the Board's observation and 
effort of more importance than this, nor one which has stronger claims on 
their immediate attention and immediate action." 

If it is not thought best to insist upon whites and blacks attending the 
same schools in the South, is it more judicious and right to denounce Karen 
Christians, and warn them to beware of the condemnation of the Jews, be- 
cause they decline to send their children to a school for all races ? It is to 
be presumed that the Executive Committee will at least hold to their 
resolution of November, 1876 : " The Executive Committee have no de- 
sire to restrict the freedom of the Christian Karens in selecting schools 
for their children at any of the stations, provided their children . . . are 
supported by the Karens themselves, without additional expense to the 
Union." 



3G4 BASSEIX KAREN MISSION. 

those which he had so recently left in Bassein. He could not 
escape the conviction, that a momentous mistake had been made 
by the Executive Committee in locating the college there, and 
by himself in accepting the charge of it. He was expected 
to go on at once, and expend twenty-five thousand rupees of 
Christ's money in erecting a school edifice in a place where 
he now saw clearly, or believed that he saw, that the money 
would be worse than thrown away ; for every rupee expended 
would tend to perpetuate the evil and the waste. He could not 
shake off the conviction, that, before a rupee had been spent 
upon buildings, there was yet time for reconsideration. As 
the responsibility of the enterprise rested immediately upon 
himself, he could not conscientiously do otherwise than com- 
municate his change of views to the Committee in Boston, to 
Kev. Dr. Binney, his predecessor in office, and to all of the 
Karen missionaries in Burma. This he did on the 13th of 
May. He also visited Bassein the same week, to learn what 
offers the Christian Karens of that district would make, in 
case the Executive Committee should consent to remove the 
college thither. The leading pastors promptly promised all 
that he asked; 1 viz., twenty thousand rupees in cash towards 

1 We have in this connection a capital illustration of Karen character 
and methods. In the two public meetings that were held on this subject, 
in the English sehoolhousc built by Mr. Beecher, the missionary in charge 
strongly opposed the plan set forth by Mr. Carpenter. After considerable 
friendly discussion, the veteran Myat Keh arose on behalf of the pastors, 
and delivered himself of this parable: — 

" We Karens are in the position of a weak, sickly lad, whose father 
advises him to eat some dried fish, while his mother forbids his doing so. 
First, let our parents agree between themselves in this matter, then we 
shall know what to say and do about it." 

As the desired agreement seemed to be impracticable, Mr. Carpenter, 
though fully convinced of what the independent choice of the Karens would 
be, withdrew his proposition, without asking for any definite pledges, 
trying to be content with the general expression of favor which they had 
given. Immediately after the adjournment, however, without his solici- 
tation, and entirely without his knowledge, the pastors got together by 
themselves, talked the whole matter over again, decided that the plan was 
desirable and feasible, so far as they were concerned, and agreed each to 
raise his proportion of the twenty thousand rupees, if the college could be 



LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. 3G5 

the college-building fund, and the contribution, year by year, 
of rice sufficient for the use of all pupils, from whatsoever 
quarter they might come. 

The statement prepared by Mr. Carpenter went the rounds 
in Burma : but with the exception of the missionary in Maul- 
main, and, later, of the one in charge at Henthada, the Karen 
missionaries as a body, and the Burman missionaries as well, 
opposed the change ; and many of them were not slow to say 
that the fulfilment of the Bassein pledge was impossible. The 
Executive Committee, accordingly, decided the question in the 
negative. Mr. Carpenter, convinced that he could do more to 
advance the interests of higher education among the Karens as 
a people in Bassein, without the college and without pecuniary 
aid from America, than he could do in Rangoon at the head of 
the college, backed by the treasury of the Missionary Union, 
resigned his position, and early in March, 1875, was again in 
the midst of his loving and trustful people, — the very people 
who had loved and reverenced Abbott as a father, — the 
people who had stood by Beecher through thick and thin. 

It will be remembered, perhaps, that the school in Bassein 
differed essentially from the college in Rangoon, in that it was 
emphatically of indigenous growth, and in no sense an exotic. 
It was the child of an intense desire and of a settled purpose, 
on the part of the Karens of that district, to secure for their 
children and their children's children the benefits of a Christian 
education, the higher, the better to their liking. It was the 
child of their prayers, fed and clothed from its birth by their 
own unstinted bounty. In March, 18G0, at the association in 
Naupeheh, Mau Yay had given expression to the convictions of 
the Karen leaders thus : — 



moved. They also wrote a formal letter to the Missionary Union, asking 
that the change of location might he made. Rev. Po Kway and Choot, 
then the devoted and efficient steward of the school, and a deacon of 
the Institute Church, waylaid Mr. Carpenter on his way to the Rangoon 
steamer, and communicated to him their action, with strong assurances of 
cordial and unanimous co-operation. — C. H. C. 



3CG BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

"Dear Brethren-, — It is now several years since we became 
Christians. Each passing month and year should have seen an im- 
provement in the schools for our children : nevertheless, whether we 
look at the school in town, or at those in our jungle villages, nothing 
is complete. Let it be so no longer, brethren ; for a Christian educa- 
tion is the foundation of every thing good. Your committee, there- 
fore, have resolved that nothing should be allowed to hinder any girl 
or young woman, any boy or young man, who wants to get an educa- 
tion. Moreover, if any are so stupid as not to desire one, let their 
parents and pastors take them in hand. Moreover, let the churches 
help orphans and the children of poor or heathen parents to the 
utmost of their ability. As to the contributions for the town school, 
we judge that every disciple should give half a basket of paddy and four 
annas [twelve cents] in money before the end of March every year." 

At this very time, while Mr. Beecher — holding, with many 
others, that an English education was not desirable for Karens 
— had repeatedly declined their proposals to establish an English 
department in the town school, the pastors were laying plans 
and collecting money to establish an English school of their own 
at Kohsoo. Finding how determined they were, Mr. Beecher 
wisely yielded to their wishes, and accepted their liberal offers. 
His expenditures would be trebled. War was on the eve of 
breaking out in America, and he could look for no aid from 
that quarter. In this juncture the Karens must bear their own 
burdens, and nobly did they come up to the work. For the 
year 1SG1-G2 they brought in, for buildings and the current 
expenses of the school, Rs. 2,427 and 1,168 baskets of paddy, 
and the association voted to assess the churches on the scale of 
Rs. 3,000 and 1,500 baskets of paddy annually. Their contri- 
butions continued for a long time on this generous scale, and 
were at length much increased. The government, indeed, came 
to the relief of the school in 1863-G4, with an annual grant of 
Rs. 1,500 ; but it came out of the heavy taxes paid by Karen 
cultivators. This aid was increased in 18G9 to Rs. 2,000, to 
Rs. 2,500 in 187G, and still later to Rs. 3,000, to match the 
improvement of the school and the largely increased gifts of 
the Karens ; but from America, for the six years preceding 



LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. 367 

Mr. Beecher's departure, his accounts show that less than a 
hundred and thirty rupees were received for the school, an 
average of less than one dollar a month. In like manner it can 
be shown, that from the beginning until now, including the cost 
of land and buildings, wages of native teachers, pupils' board, 
and all current expenses save the salaries of American teachers, 
less than five per cent of the expenditures has come from private 
friends, churches, and societies in America. 

"Widely different was the plan on which the Eaugoon Baptist 
College was conceived. "Widely different had been, and must 
ever be, its mode of existence and growth, if growth there 
could be in the uncongenial soil where it was planted. Is it 
remarkable that one who had inherited, with the field of Abbott 
and Beecher, somewhat of their spirit and ideas, should find 
himself, to his own surprise, unable to abandon the goodly 
foundation which they had laid on the Karen rock, in order to 
enter a structure costlier, perhaps, but reared with American 
silver, and, as he judged, upon the sand ? 

At Awahbeik, Thursday evening, March 18, 1875, the asso- 
ciation unanimously voted to raise Rs. 20,000 within four years 
for the erection of a spacious and substantial chapel and 
school-building for the male department. The resolution was 
passed with far less doubt and hesitation than the one to raise 
Rs. 6,000 in December, 1868. They had begun to find their 
strength. Mr. Hopkinson having obtained the posts for the 
girls' school-building, projected in 1871, work was begun upon 
it directly after the association. Forty strong men from Koh- 
soo, Mohgoo, and two other villages, came in to raise the heavy 
iron-wood posts. The hard and dangerous job was finished late 
in the evening of the second day, when, after a hearty hymn of 
praise, the dusty, tired men bowed upon the turf in the moon- 
light, and dedicated the house there begun to the Christian 
education of the future wives and mothers of the Karen people. 
The building was formally dedicated, after its completion, on 
the 10th of October following. Dedicatory prayers were offered 
by both Myat Keh and Po Kway : the sermon was by the 



3G3 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

missionary. It was a two-storied structure of teak aud iron- 
wood, fifty-four feet by thirtj'-six, with a driveway and upper 
veranda-room on the front, twenty-one feet by eighteen. The 
roof was of teak. The rooms were painted throughout, and 
furnished with desks and seats from Chicago ; the latter being 
the gift of the Woman's Baptist Missionaiy Society. In con- 
sideration of having the upper story finished off ultimately for 
the occupation of the ladies of that society, they also contribut- 
ed Rs. 1,980 towards the cost of the building; and afterwards, 
when it was made over to their use, they met the cost of inside 
partitions, doors, etc., for that stoiy, which brought up their 
entire contribution to a little less than half of the whole cost of 
the structure. 

The school, meantime, was constantly growing in numbers 
and in efficiency. Nowhere in Burma was the happy effect 
of " woman's helping hand" more plainly visible than here. 
Misses Baldwin (later Mrs. Dr. Cross), "Walling (Mrs. Dr. 
Jameson), Batson (Mrs. Price), Manning, and McAllister, 
with Miss Watson, who has been already mentioned, contri- 
buted very largely to make the school what it was. Besides 
these of American birth, Yahbah Tohlo, Moung Tway, and 
Dr. Boganau, returning from schools in the United States, and 
Sandwah, 1 Taynau, Toolay, Rev. Shway Gah, Maukeh, Pah- 
hah. 1 Nyahgeh, Thah-too-oo, 1 and others, sons of the soil, and 
of the schools of Bassein itself, did good service in teaching 
and in the equally important out-door work of the Normal and 
Industrial Institute. The number of pupils increased from 3-ear 
to year until it reached two hundred and fifty ; and the director 
of public instruction with the government inspectors have 
ranked the school from that time to the present, sometimes as 
the model school of the province, and always as one of the first. 
While it was in advance of other Karen schools, 2 very few of 

1 These three energetic, well-trained men are now serving their people 
uinlcr government, as deputy inspectors of Karen schools. 

- As to secular studies, we presume that the remark is true of all the 
schools of our mission in Burma (see Appendix C). As to sacred studies 
the theological seminary would stand first, of course. 



LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. 3G9 

its classes ever passed beyond the middle (grammar) school 
standard ; and the limit of its scholastic ambition was to gradu- 
ate classes fitted to pass the ' l entrance examination " fixed by 
the Calcutta University. In a word, while bearing the name 
given by its founder, Mr. Beecher, the school aimed to do thor- 
oughly the work of a New-England academy plus a compre- 
hensive course of Bible study ; and well manned as it was by 
the woman's societies, with experienced teachers of good edu- 
cation, it was fairly well able to do that work. 

During the year 187G a two-story L, one hundred feet by 
twenty-seven, was added to the rear of the girls' schoolhouse, — 
the upper rooms to be used as dormitories for the girls ; the 
lower rooms, for weaving, storage, etc. The cost of this 
building was given by an old friend of the mission, resident in 
Burma. Moreover, much of the timber, and all of the choice 
iron-wood posts, for the projected Memorial Hall, were collected 
from the forests, fifty miles or more distant, and combed to 
the building-site. On the 23d of August, at four, p.m., ground 
was broken for grading the site of the new hall. Ez. ii. 68- 
iii. 13 was read by Shway Gah. After a hymn sung by the 
school, and remarks with a financial statement from Mr. Car- 
penter, prayer was offered by Rev. J. P. Sahnay, the pastor 
of the Institute Church. 1 The ladies, and the native teachers 
of the school, then lifted each a spadeful of earth ; and the hard 
work of removing the top soil, and grading up with laterite, Avas 
delegated to the young men and boys of the Institute. At the 
close of the year we were sending off Bogalay, our first mis- 
sionary to the Kakhyens of Bhamo ; the ' ' Thomas House ' ' had 
been torn down, and taken to another site to make room for the 
Memorial Hall ; the Chinese contractor was beginning to hew 
and smooth the posts of the latter ; we had taken delivery of 
a hundred and forty thousand teak shingles from Maulmain, 



1 This was one of the last public services performed by this excellent 
Karen brother. For a brief memorial sketch of his life and character, see 
Missionary Magazine, April, 1877, p. 97. 



370 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

and the building-fund had been brought up to ten thousand six 
hundred rupees. 

The year 1877 was one of great anxiety and of the severest 
labor. To add to his legitimate cares, the missionary had been 
compelled to enter upon a difficult and most unwelcome course 
with reference to the chief civil authority in Bassein. Nowhere 
in the world, probably, is there a class of officials more highly 
paid, or, as a class, possessed of higher qualifications for their 
responsible duties, than the officials of the British Government 
in India. There are among them not a few who combine with 
the highest ability and training the beautiful characteristics of 
an inward Christian life. British Burma owes much to the 
administrative power of chiefs like Sir A. P. Phayre and Sir 
A. Eden, and not less, certainly, to the Christian wisdom, com- 
bined with rare general ability, of an Aitchison, a Thompson, 
and a Bernard. It is the exception, however, that proves the 
rule. In an interior district, at rare intervals, officers have 
been known to do what they could on British soil to reproduce 
the tyranny of the old Burman rule. 

It would be easy to fill half of this volume with well accred- 
ited facts of what the native subjects of her Majesty had to 
endure about this time in the Bassein district, — forced labor 
exacted wholesale over wide tracts of territory ; the compelling 
of all persons of the humbler classes to kneel, in the great man's 
presence, on the street, or wherever they might chance to meet 
him ; many cases of personal violence done to innocent men by 
the magistrate's own hands (or feet) ; Karen Christians obliged 
in repeated instances to violate the Christian sabbath, and also 
to contribute for the celebration of heathen festivals, etc. 
Matters reached such a pitch, that an appeal was made to the 
highest authorities in May, 1876. This was followed by the 
wanton wrecking of one of our Karen chapels (in Tohkwau) by 
the orders of the officer in question and in his own presence ; 
by persistent endeavors to prevent our obtaining the timber 
necessary for our extensive buildings, on which we had paid 
advances, and to which we had a legal right ; and, finally, by 



LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. 371 

fostering a vexatious criminal charge brought against the mis- 
sionary, on the alleged ground of " wrongfully confining " one 
of his pupils nearly a year before. The subject was referred 
by the chief commissioner to the viceroy of India for orders. 
An informal and by no means an exhaustive inquiry was held 
in August, 1876 ; but it was not until the middle of April, 1877, 
that the decision of the Indian Government was made known. 1 
The delinquent was reduced in rank, and removed to a distant 
station. 2 In consequence, a sense of relief, and thankfulness 
for partial justice even, pervaded all classes of native society 
in Bassein. 

On the 5th of February the last of the one hundred and six- 
teen heavy iron- wood posts of the Memorial Hall was raised, 
with the English and American flags waving at the top, fifty-six 
feet from the ground. The roof was completed on the 15th of 
May, just as the annual rains began. By a great effort the 
building-fund had been brought up to lis. 22,850 at the close 
of the year, but it had been necessary to spend large sums 
for material and on subsidiary buildings. We had re-erected 
the "Thomas House" as a boys' dormitory, a hundred feet 
by twenty-seven, with a carpenter's shop, a turning-room, and 



1 However strangely it may sound to American ears, it is a fact that no 
inquiry whatever was made into the charge of cruel treatment of the na- 
tives, and no fair opportunity was given to the injured persons to present 
their testimony. No compensation was ever offered for the chapel de- 
stroyed ; and, in the letter announcing the judgment to the framer of the 
charges, no weight whatever was given to any thing brought forward by 
the missionary. It was made to appear that the decision was grounded 
solely upon a fact confessed by the gentleman himself, that, contrary to the 
rules, he had accepted a loan of a few hundred rupees from one of his 
native subordinates. So much for official pride and class-feeling, not to 
speak of the gross disregard of the rights of the poor and helpless. It may 
not be out of place to add in a footnote, that the missionary himself was 
under police surveillance, and the name of every visitor to his house was 
reported to the magistrate daily, for months. The members of his family, 
as well as himself, were not surprised to find themselves " sent to Coven- 
try" for a still longer period, by all save two or three stanch English 
friends. — C. H. Carpenter. 

2 He has since retired from government service. 



372 BASSE IN KAREN M IS SI ON. 

a small book-bindery below : we had completed also a very 
substantial granary of thirty-five hundred baskets' capacity, to 
receive the rice contributed by the churches. Sheds for grind- 
ing and pounding out the school rice were annexed, above 
which was a dormitory for boys, seventy-two feet by twenty- 
seven. The rains, moreover, had been very late in coming ; 
and iu July and August the district was visited by floods of 
unprecedented height and continuance. It was feared that the 
rice-crop would be a total failure throughout Lower Burma. 
The seedlings were killed, and had to be reset twice and three 
times. At the same time a cry of deepest distress came from 
the Telugu Christians across the bay. We might ourselves be 
in the midst of famine within sis months ; but an appeal was 
prepared in Karen, and sent to every one of the churches. As 
two or three j-ears before, in a time of scarcity in Toungoo, 
a thousand rupees were cheerfully raised for their needy Karen 
brethren, so now an equal amount was promptly brought in by 
the churches, and sent to Rev. Mr. Clough and his associates, 
for distribution amoncj the suffering; Telumis. 

In March two more missionaries had been sent, with Rev. 
Messrs. Gushing and Lyon, to the Kakhyens beyond Bhamo. 
In October two others volunteered for the same self-den} T ing 
and perilous work. The Home Mission treasury was empty : 
what would the pastors do ? We shall not soon forget old Mau 
Yay's reply, " Is the teacher afraid to lend three hundred rupees 
to the Lord ? ' ' Koteh and his companion were at once sent 
forward with the wife and infant son of S'peh, who was already 
at his grand work on the mountain peaks overlooking China ; 
and the debt assumed by the pastors was discharged in a few 
weeks. 

On the 31st of December we were five thousand rupees in 
debt for building, and still we were driving the work as fast as 
thirty carpenters and sawyers could do it. We had formed the 
purpose, with God's blessing, to dedicate the principal building 
May 1G, 1878, as the " Ko Thahbyu Memorial Hall." That 
day would be the fiftieth anniversary of the baptism by Board- 



LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. 373 

man, in Tavoy, of the first Karen convert to Christianity. Ko 
Thahbyu, afterwards so zealous and successful in missionary 
labor as to be called " the Karen apostle," was a Bassein man : 
his widow and son were still living among us, worthy members 
of the church in Kaukau Pgah. The first jubilee that the poor, 
once degraded, devil- worshipping Karen ever had, ought to be 
worthily celebrated. 

God was better to us than our fears, better even than our 
most sanguine hopes. One-third only of the villages lost their 
crop, for the third year in succession. Two-thirds of the Chris- 
tian villages, those in the lower part of the district, owing to 
most favorable latter rains, made a bumper crop ; and, most 
unexpectedly of all, paddy was bringing nearly double the ordi- 
nary price. Never before, not even in the year of the great 
Bengal famine, had the Karens in the fortunate part of the 
district received nearly so much money for their grain. 

At the annual meeting of the association in March, 1878, it 
was voted, in view of the exigency, to make a second, supple- 
mentary effort, and, by a special contribution of two rupees 
and a half per member, bring the building-fund up to forty 
thousand rupees before May 1G, in order that the memorial 
building might be dedicated without a debt. The two months 
following were crowded with blessings and the hardest kind 
of work for every member of the Bassein mission. It was the 
hottest of hot seasons, but there was no flinching. The de- 
voted pastors again took hold of the work of collection with 
fresh zeal and an invincible determination to succeed. It is 
needless to say, that as a body they themselves gave to the 
very extent of their resources. An enthusiasm for giving 
seemed to fall upon the people. On the day of dedication, 
our building-fund, which we had set at the modest figure of 
Rs. 20,000, had reached the sum of Rs. 42,342-3-0. The debt 
was extinguished. There was an abundance of material on 
hand, and over Rs. 8,000 in cash, — considerably more than 
enough to complete the Memorial Hall and two or three smaller 
buildings then under way. The Karen contributions alone 



374 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

during the five months previous had added Rs. 17,139 to the 
building-fund. For years we had been humming, "In some 
way or other the Lord wUl provide." Faith was now changed 
to sight ; and for two days we had snch a jubilee as the Jews 
may have kept, at the other southern corner of the continent, in 
Solomon or Zerubbabel's day. 

At the solemn services Rev. C. Bennett and wife, for fifty 
years most useful and esteemed members of the Burman mis- 
sion ; the earnest and devoted Mrs. Thomas, who but a few 
3*ears before had a happy home on the very spot now dedi- 
cated to the work of Christian education ; and Rev. M. Jame- 
son and wife of the Burman Department, with the members of 
the Karen mission in Bassein itself, — all assisted by their pres- 
ence, and some of them by valuable papers, reminiscences, or 
exhortations. Rev. D. A. W. Smith of the seminary in Ran- 
goon contributed an inspiring Karen hymn. Last, but not least 
in importance, were the Karen pastors, especially the veterans 
Mau Yay, Myat Keh, Po Kway, and Shway Bo, — all of whom 
were prepared for their work and ordained by Abbott himself, 
— Shway Bau, Tohlo, Dahbu, Pohtoo, and Deeloo, Kyoukkeh 
from Toungoo, and Rev. Sau Tay from the Karen Theological 
Seminary in Rangoon, together with the widow and son of Ko 
Thahbyu himself, and hundreds of others, of high and low 
degree, from almost all parts of Karendom. To all it was an 
occasion of deep and thrilling interest. The addresses of Myat 
Keh, Tohlo, and Shway Bau ; the papers read by Mrs. Thomas, 
Mr. Bennett, Mr. Carpenter, and Sau Tay ; the sermon by Poo 
Goung ; and the dedicatory prayer by Mau Yay, — all were 
worthy of the occasion, and produced a deep impression ; while 
the discussion of the twin-questions, "During the next fifty 
years what would the Karens have God do for them, and what 
would the Lord have them do for him?" led many, it was 
hoped, to fresh and deeper consecration to the divine service. 

The building was not finished at the time of the dedication ; 
but a brief description of it as it was finished shortly after 
(see engraving) will not be out of place. Its general form is 



r. 



> 

r 

X 
> 



H 
X 

CO 



5 
z 

r, 



a 




LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. 375 

that of the letter H less the bottom half of the left leg : in 
other W3rds, it consists of a main building with three wings; 
two projecting on the north, and one, containing the driveway 
and front entrance, with tower attached, on the south. In the 
centre of the main building is a chapel for the united worship 
of all departments on Sundays and at morning prayers. The 
audience-room is sixty-six feet and a half by thirty-eight. The 
floor slants on three sides towards the platform, which is in 
the middle of the south side. Verandas ten feet broad on the 
north and south sides, and galleries of the same width on 
the east and west, add largely to the capacity of this place of 
worship. A- rich teak entablature runs the whole width of the 
audience-room over the east gallery ; and upon it is carved in 
large Karen letters, "Behold the Lamb of God, which taketh 
away the sin of the world." Over the west gallery is inscribed 
in uniform style, from Deuteronomy, "These words which I 
command thee this day, . . . thou shalt teach them diligently 
unto thy children." On the west wall, side by side with the 
marble tablet to Mr. Beecher, already described, hangs its 
counterpart, with this inscription : — 

"Sacred to the memory of 
ELISHA LITCHFIELD ABBOTT. 

[In Karen] Father-teacher Abbott. 

"Missionary of the American Baptist 

Missionary Union, and under God the 

Founder of the Bassein Karen Mission. 

Born in Cazenovia, N.Y., U.S.A., Oct. 23, 1809; 

Arrived in Maulmain, Burma, 1836; 

First tour to Kyootoo, Bassein, Dec. 23, 1837; 

Died in Fulton, N.Y., U.S.A., Dec. 3, 1854. 

" He was enabled to establish fifty Christian 

Churches among the heathen, in which 

Self-support was wisely practised 

From the beginning. His name will ever live 

In the traditions of the Bassein Karens 

As that of a hero, and their beloved 

Spiritual father." 

[In Karen] We loved him very much*. 



CM I 



BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 



The chapel contains also one of J. Estey & Co.'s best mis- 
sionary organs, the gift of the generous makers. The hon- 
framed settees in the chapel, and the excellent desks and seats 
throughout the building (sufficient to accommodate three hun- 
dred pupils), are of Chicago make, and were the gift of L. D. 
Carpenter of Seymour, Ind., and another friend. 

The east end of the main building, with its two wings, all 
two stories, is for the study and recitation rooms of the Eng- 
lish department. It comprises one schoolroom thirty-eight feet 
by twenty-eight and a half, three lecture and class rooms 
twenty-eight feet and a half by nineteen, and three rooms nine- 
teen feet square, besides much good veranda room. The west 
end of the main building, with its one wing, is used by the 
vernacular department. It has one large schoolroom thirty- 
eight feet by twenty-eight and a half, five rooms twenty-eight 
feet and a half by nineteen (one of which is occupied by the 
library) , and one room nineteen feet square, besides available 
room on the verandas. 

The south front of the Memorial Hall measures 134 feet ; the 
east, including the tower, 131 feet; and the west, 104 feet. 
The tower on the south-east corner is four stories, or sixty feet 
from the ground to the top of the gilded Greek cross. A fine- 
toned bell presented by ' ' The Fort-holders ' ' of the First Bap- 
tist Church Sunday school, New- York City, swings in the bel- 
fry. The building was thoroughly painted throughout by the 
students, at the cost of the material only. Most fortunately, 
the acoustics of the chapel, and the ventilation of the whole 
building, prove to be all that can be desired. A two-story 
covered gallery, 350 feet long, connects the Hall with the mis- 
sion-house and the girls' school ; thus saving the teachers and 
pupils from all exposure to sun and rain in passing to and fro, 
and the ladies from much fatigue in going up and down stairs. 

At the association held in Singoo-gyee, March, 1879, Rev. 
Mr. Smith, president of the Karen Theological Seminary, was 
present by invitation, and gave valuable aid in the deliberations 
of the body. The work of providing the school with ample 



LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. 377 

buildings having been completed, there being also no token 
manifest of exhaustion on the part of pastors or people, the pro- 
ject of raising fifty thousand rupees to be the nucleus of an en- 
dowment for the school, under the name of the " E. L. Abbott 
Endowment Fund," was discussed. Mr. Smith also wished 
to know what terms the Bassein Karens would offer, in case 
the Missionary Union should see fit to remove the theological 
school to Bassein. A conference was held with the pastors, all 
of whom were anxious to do every thing in their power to effect 
an arrangement which they had so long desired. The associa- 
tion finally voted unanimously, and the leading pastors and 
elders signed a formal pledge for transmission to Boston, to 
raise five thousand rupees at least, for the erection of a dwell- 
ing-house for Mr. Smith ; to give for the use of the seminary 
the seven cottages on the western side of the compound, of 
which the cost value was not less than five thousand rupees ; 
the free use of the western half of the Memorial Hall, so long 
as Mr. Smith and his teachers would be responsible for the 
management of the vernacular department of the Institute ; 
and all the rice needed year by year for the consumption of the 
pupils of the seminary. It was also voted unanimously to raise 
within seven years the proposed endowment of fifty thousand 
rupees, and ten thousand rupees for a small hospital, doctor's 
house, etc., besides the ten thousand rupees for Mr. Smith's 
house, and for dormitories to take the place of the buildings to 
be transferred to the Theological Seminary, in case it should be 
removed to the Sgau compound in Bassein. 

This munificent offer, made in the best of faith, and from no 
selfish or narrow motives, the Executive Committee were un- 
able to accept in the face of probable opposition from many 
missionaries. If there were any ground to hope that the offer 
would be favorably considered, it would doubtless be renewed, 
and the pledge, like all the pledges of that noble people, would 
be more than redeemed. Meanwhile the work of raising the 
endowment goes on. Serious opposition to the endowment-plan 
was raised, in one quarter at least, where there should have been 



378 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

the heartiest co-operation ; but the work went on. Over Rs. 
31,000 had been paid in, before ill health again obliged Mr. 
and Mrs. Carpenter, in November, 1880, to leave Burma. Of 
this endowment-fund raised by the Karens, $15,0GG.G6 are now 
safely invested in this country, under the control of the Mis- 
sionary Union, for twenty years ; and the accruing interest, 
undiminished, is forwarded semi-annually to Bassein for the 
support of the Institute. 

Rev. C. A. Nichols, a graduate of the college and seminary 
at Hamilton, N.Y., arrived in Bassein with Mrs. Nichols in 
December, 1879. Under his direction, with the continuance of 
the divine blessing, the work will not cease to progress. A 
telegram of a single word, " ten," recently received from him, 
indicates the purpose of the pastors and the trustees of the 
Institute to raise and forward $10,000 more towards the en- 
dowment this year. May the God of Abraham speed him and 
them in all their works of faith and patience until the blessed 
consummation ! 

To sum up. Since 18G8 the Sgau Karen Christians of Bas- 
sein alone have contributed Rs. 82,511-14-5 (equivalent, at the 
rates of exchange current during the period, to $3G,5G4.9G) for 
the erection of permanent buildings, and for the permanent 
endowment of their Normal and Industrial Institute. There 
have been no fairs, grab-bags, or ingenious devices of any kind, 
to lure away their money without their feeling it. That amount 
has been given out and out, in cash, besides thousands of 
rupees' worth of gratuitous labor, in addition to all their heavy 
contributions for the support of the gospel, for the current 
expenses of the Institute, and their own village schools. In 
the exercise of a beautiful confidence in the Christian honor 
and love of their American brethren, this large sum has been 
either expended on the property of the A. B. M. Union in Bas- 
sein. 1 or intrusted to the treasurer of the Union in Boston for 

1 Oi late, incited, perhaps, by the example of the Karen Home Mission 
Society in Rangoon, there has been an increasing desire, on the part of 
many pastors and laymen in Bassein, to own the valuable property in Bas- 



LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. 379 

investment. Missionary friends and others in Burma have also 
given within the last twelve years, for the endowment of this 
school, for permanent school-buildings and furniture, Rs. 
53,649-7-4 ; making a grand total of Rs. 130,161-5-9 perma- 
nently invested thus far in this indigenous school enterprise. 
To this may be added Rs. 4,153-5, given by the Woman's 
Baptist Missionary Society (mostly to provide accommodations 
for their missionary ladies) and by private friends in America, 
and the " Mark Carpenter Scholarship Fund " of $4,000. 

To keep up such a scale of giving through so long a term 
of years, without alloioing their Christian work to flag in any 
particular; to do it, as that dear people did, in the face of 
opposition from without, and finally from within also ; in the 
face of the dismission of four entire churches with their pastors 
to join the Rangoon association, and of the emigration of not 
less than five hundred adult members of other churches to the 
limits of the same association ; in the face of the defection of 

sein in their own name. The writer has not been in favor of yielding to 
this desire heretofore, although it will doubtless be brought about natu- 
rally and easily in the course of time. To hold the property, a Karen 
Society would have to be formed, and legally incorporated; and the con- 
sent of the government to the transfer of the land granted by it to the Free 
Mission Society would have to be obtained. In the present immature stage 
of Karen character and social development, differences of view, and prac- 
tical difficulties of management, would be likely to arise, which would 
make the possession and control of the mission-compound by them un- 
profitable and unwise. 

In view, however, of the fact that the Christian Karens have expended 
not less than fifty thousand rupees on this property to less than five thou- 
sand expended by the Union, the writer did urge the Executive Committee 
strongly, to give to the Karen pastors a formal " refusal " of the property, 
binding themselves and their successors to give the Sgau Karen Baptists 
of Bassein the right of first purchase, at a price not greater than the 
actual cost to the Union of the property, whenever the society may think 
it wise to dispose of the same. 

It seems, however, that this suggestion was not heeded, and that an 
excellent letter (referred to in the Missionary Magazine, July, 1883, p. 203), 
filled with kind assurances and Christian counsel, was sent, but not through 
the missionary who made the application. It seems to the writer that this 
refusal to meet a generous and trusting people half way will some day have 
to be reconsidered. 



380 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

two other large churches through the iuflueuce of corrupt pas- 
tors ; iu the face of unusual ravages by pestilence ; in the face 
of the loss of the greater part of their cattle by murrain, of 
the oft-repeated loss of their crops by floods ; in the face of 
increased taxation, aud, for a time, of positive oppression, and 
the disfavor of their rulers, — was nothing less, surely, than a 
marked triumph of that divine grace which enriches " in every 
thing unto all liberality," and works, through the saints, 
"thanksgiving to God." To Him who increases "the fruits 
of righteousness ' ' be all the praise ! 

We close this record of the mingled trials and blessings of 
forty years' labor in a remote corner of the Lord's vineyard 
with two instructive tables, which will receive, we ti*ust, the 
careful attention of all thoughtful readers, although consigned 
to the Appendix. The first table shows the gradual growth of 
the Bassein churches, Sgau and Pwo, in numbers, benevolence, 
etc., from 1857 to 1879 inclusive. The second contains the 
amounts given by the several Sgau Karen churches of Bassein 
for the permanent buildings and endowment of their school 
from 1808 to 1880, — the churches being arranged, not accord- 
ing to the aggregate amounts given, church by church, but 
according to the average given per member ; the smaller 
churches thus having as good a chance for precedence as the 
larger, — and also the donations of each church to ordinary 
and special objects for the jubilee year 1879. 

As our readers may be interested to know how the annual 
contributions set forth in the Appendix are distributed between 
the various objects, we introduce a short table on the opposite 
page. 

If an inquiry is raised as to the condition in life of these 
generous native Christians, we reply that ninety-nine hun- 
dredths of the laity are ordinary lowland rice-cultivators. Not 
one of them owns the field which he tills. The high taxes 
which they pay may be regarded as of the nature of rent paid 
to the Empress of India, who is the legal proprietor of all 
ungrantcd lands in Burma. The charge varies, according to 



LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. 381 



— A 

s 



c 

C-h 

O 

Co 



> 

< 
a 

•1 
p 


h 


5" 
o 

CO 


•3 

o 

1-1 


i-3 
o 

3 

3 


w 

o 
o 

CD 


< 

p 

do. 


1 


CD* 

CO 

S" 


00 

B 

"B 

o 






(R 


o 


p" 
c 
n> 
o 
c 


B-- 


co 


■* 


CO 


B 


= 


3 






o 
o 
o 
B 


E 


3" 

03 


a 

o 

o 


"1 

Q 


CO 

B" 

o 


OTQ 

P 

E 


CD 

B* 
o 


o 

HI* 

■B 






e*- 


>B 


w 


QD 


- 


o 




B 


P 






3. 

c 
B 

5' 

B 

>B 


o 

CD 


o 
o- 

o 

CO 


P 
3 

o 

13 

p- 

o 


G" 

o 
p 

P 


c 

CD 

p 

B 

a. 

CD 

o 


CO 

p 
a 
B* 
o 

CD 


"B 

S. 


o 

p 

B 

p. 
o 


03 

o 

CO 

> — * 

a 

p 

CO 




O 

u 

3 
o 

h3 


a 

B 






4 

B 

CO 


E 


B- 
o 
o 




p - 


3 


B* 
P 
B 






a 








c 


^^ 




09 


/— N 


C- 






B 

CD 






r* 

o 

l-t» 


~ 


B 




CD 
O 

B" 


3" 


P 






■-! 






o 




P 




P 
I, 


ei 


•< 










































Co" 










• 






• 


• 


• 




" 


' 


* 






W 




















y 




m 


oo 


to 


h-l 


to 


to 


K-» 


t-» 


1-1 


Oi 


B 


CC 




Vi 


O 


cn 


CO 




CO 


o> 


'o 


lo 


CO 
en 

CD 


•-3 




if 


fc 


to 


*- 


1-1 


4* 


CO 


o 


CO 


O 


t 


© 


h- 


o 


to 


CO 


en 


CO 


— 1 




w 




















fei 




CD 


M 




















M 




C71 






to 




to 


to 




en 


3 


OC 


to 


H- 


to 


CD 


© 


J^ 


"to 


to 


CO 


'to 


(D 


*J 


1 


© 


—4 


OO 


00 


•4 


o 


t-» 


M 




03 


l-i 


-•JJ 


M 


-J 


O 


o 


to 


o 


CO 


Hi 


-4 




© 




















' 




w 




















£3 




03 


h- 
© 
*Cn 


"if 


O 


© 


■<- 


to 

o 


to 


CO 


"l-l 


B 
•B 

CO 


M 
00 
•5J 


1 


M 


to 


h- 


CO 


to 


00 


CO 


o 


cn 


00 


ts 


© 


O 


to 


CO 


CO 


en 


en 


M 


CO 


en 






















* 




P3 




















SI 




n 

© 


to 

© 


*- 

"en 


© 


h-1 

CO 


— u 


to 

"to 


_to 

"if 


CO 


© 


c 
>B 

—J 


H 

CC 


© 


C3 


to 


fc 


to 

CO 


© 


o 
to 


CO 

en 


en 
en 


(0 

CO 


e: 


w 




















hH 




00 


to 

co 

*co 


OS 
*h- 


eo 


_to 

"cn 


en 


to 

to 


CO 

"en 


-^ 


j-4 

"en 


-J 

B 

s 


M 
OO 

h- 


h-» 


© 


-A 


CO 


—i 


>b 


en 




>t* 


it- 


CO 


© 


M 


© 


CO 


to 


CO 


en 


to 


CO 


-^t 


CO 




w 




















f3 




OB 


to 

j-4 


*- 


CO 


05 


M 


to 


en 




o> 


c 


OC 




*© 


'co 


© 


"if 


'm 


V 


05 


--1 


oo 


CO 


•-3 




Cn 


© 


to 


© 


to 


CO 


--J 


it- 


to 


CO 

CD 


Cl 


z 


*- 


w 


cn 


o 


-4 


If 


to 


cn 


-4 




S3 




















W 




00 

f 


to 

i° 

"© 


5" 
lo 


en 


CO 


to 


to 

o 


to 


-i 


© 
© 


B 
"B 

CO 


00 


h- 1 


if 


© 


lt» 


CO 


p^ 


CO 


h-l 


If 


CO 

CD 


d 




to 


o 


—1 


CO 


to 


»4 


CO 


© 


© 




w 




















g) 




OS 


05 




h- 
















M 




© 


en 


O 


en 


l-l 


l-t 


to 


M 


—J 


■B 
CD 


OC 


© 


h- 


CD 


hJ 


to 


en 


en 


-4 


© 


CO 


•-J 


03 
h- 


O 
-4 


to 


£ 


o 
if- 


to 

M 


o 

CO 


CO 


© 
© 


CD 

00 


•-. 


QD 


if 
















>-* 




M 


-^1 


— 1 


Cn 


05 


0> 


to 


to 


to 


l-i 


to 




OC 
- i 


t 


~<o 


"oo 


© 


00 


*^i 


% 


V 


00 


'm 


CD 


00 


h- 


o 


CO 


-4 


to 


^t 


f-t 


oo 




CD 


--3J 


o 


I— ' 


o 


GO 


to 


CO 


h-l 


-~l 


00 




(-» 
























W 




















w 




00 




















c 


I-- 


E 


OS 
h-l 

"en 


5" 


to 

CO 

"© 


CO 


to 


to 

en 


"co 


M 

05 


h-l 
OS 
© 


CD 
CD 


oc 
•J 
53 


i. 


-4 
00 


-4 


-1 


—1 


g 


00 

-1 


8 


CO 

+- 


h-1 


QD 





t« 



s 



en 
an 

Co 

Co 



S3 

i 

"to 



382 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

the quality of the soil, from Es. 1-8 to Rs. 3-4 per acre annu- 
ally for all land under cultivation. To this, a cess of ten per 
cent on all tax-bills is added for roads, police, education, etc. 
Then there is the house-tax of Rs. 5 for every married man 
under sixty (not a school-teacher, or minister of religion) , and 
Rs. 2-8 for every bachelor ; besides the export duty on their 
rice, and a small duty on most imported goods, which amount 
to a pretty high indirect tax. They are not, however, impov- 
erished, like the people of Bengal, by zemindars. There is no 
fictitious landed nobility here to stand between the people and 
the government, fattening on the life-blood of the poor. Lord 
Cornwallis, whose name is somewhat familiar to Americans, 
created such a class for unhappy Bengal ; but Burma escaped 
him. 

The Bassein Karens are hard workers ; and as their district 
is troubled with an excess of water, rather than the reverse, 
they are, as a class, undoubtedly more prosperous than the 
corresponding classes in India. Still, they are poor. Their 
standard of comfort is low, and they have very little property. 
A few cattle, a house or hut that counts for nothing, a single 
change of clothiug, a heavy knife or two, a few baskets and 
other utensils of his own manufacture, a hymn-book or a New 
Testament, perhaps a gun (it may be the gun without the hymn- 
book), are all that you will find in the possession of the ordi- 
nary Karen householder. Their prosperity is merely relative 
compared with their own estate under the Burman rule, or that 
of others in the lowest depths of poverty. Such as it is, their 
prosperity is not often enhanced by high prices received for 
their crops in consequence of famines in India. Many of the 
cultivators accept advances early in the year, to be paid back 
in kind at harvest, at the very lowest rates. Those who are 
more fore-handed almost always sell directly from the thresh- 
ing-floor, both to meet the demands of the tax-gatherer and to 
save the trouble of storing. The rise in prices, when it comes, 
takes place after the bulk of the crop is out of the hands of the 
cultivator ; and the profits of India's misfortune are generally 



LENGTHENING COEDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. 383 

reaped by speculators aud middlemen. The year 1878 was a 
marked exception to this rule. 

Money is plentier, no doubt, among the natives of Burma 
than it is among the natives of India ; but in comparing wages, 
contributions, etc., the great difference in the cost of living 
should always be considered. A common cooly in some of the 
Madras ports is glad to work for four or six cents a day, and 
that suffices for his daily necessities. The same man in Burma 
could easily earn from twenty-live to fifty cents, according to 
the season ; but, if his family were with him, he would require 
to spend nearly the whole of it to live upon. The prices of all 
things, not excepting rice even, are far higher in Burma than 
on the opposite coast of the bay. 

While we would not be so bold as to proffer advice to any, 
a lesson from our experience may possibly be of interest or 
value to some of our readers ; and so we give it. Our experi- 
ence in Bassein, then, teaches, that, to enlist native Christians 
heartily in benevolent enterprises, the following things are at 
least highly desirable : — 

( 1 ) The enterprise selected should be of such a nature as to 
attract them, as well as to commend itself to their Christian 
hearts and their sober judgment. The Bassein Karens have 
been eager for Christian education from the first ; but that 
which animated and sustained them throughout this arduous 
undertaking was the conviction that what they were doing was 
for the advancement of the kingdom of God and the moral and 
temporal elevation of their own children. The doctrine of 
Christian stewardship has been freely preached among them, to 
the poorest as well as to the richest. The duty, rather the 
privilege, of giving out of their living, if necessary, has been 
inculcated on all. - 

(2) It is hardly necessary to say that they should have a 
leader who is strictly responsible, and able to keep accounts. 
He must also secure their perfect confidence by enlightening 
them as to his plans at every stage, and by reporting to them 
frequently the exact sums which he has received and spent, 



384 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

from whom he has received, and for what the money has been 
spent. The author has always taken great pains to have a well- 
matured plan prepared in advance, and to talk over his plans, 
and exhibit his drawings, to as many of the leading men as 
possible ; to keep a small ledger, in which there is a separate 
account with every one of the seventy odd churches, so that he 
could answer exactly, at a moment's notice, any inquiry as to 
the amounts given by any church or leading individual ; also 
to have all his accounts balanced from time to time, and thor- 
oughly audited, and compared with the vouchers, by competent 
Karens, as well as by fellow-missionaries; and, moreover, to 
give at all the general meetings of the pastors and people, at 
least three times a year, a clear and exact abstract of all re- 
ceipts and expenditures, showing the precise balances on hand, 
or the deficits to be made up. In a word, he has constantly 
endeavored to treat the work as their work for God, and to 
hold himself as their agent and servant for the efficient carry ing- 
out of the common design. 

(3) The work once resolved upon, it should be pressed, even 
in advance of the receipt of contributions. Show the people 
that you trust their pledges. Like children, they are best 
taught by "object-lessons." They will best understand and 
appreciate your plans by seeing them wrought out in brick and 
wood before their eyes. The work once well begun, the desire 
and determination of pastors and people to complete it will 
grow with every stroke of the hammer. If we had waited until 
twenty thousand rupees had been secured, before beginning 
operations, instead of dedicating the building at the end of the 
third year, we should have waited at least ten years before 
breaking ground ; and, before the people would have intrusted 
a new and untried man with such an accumulation of money to 
lie dormant, he might have waited till he was gray. That is 
not the way in which heathen temples and pagodas are built. 
Such a policy, excellent as it may be for the West, is not in 
accordance with the genius of Asiatic peoples. The more the 
writer has ventured in the Lord's work in Burma, the more he 



LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. 385 

has received. He would therefore earnestby recommend a trial 
of this method by other missionaries. 

(4) " Man}- a little makes a mickle." Our people being so 
poor, with no wealth}' class to lean upon, their strength la} r in 
their numbers, and unanimity of feeling and purpose. From 
the beginning, our aim was to enlist in the effort every church, 
.and every member of each church with their children, so far as 
possible. While the native assistants in town, under the direct 
control of the missionary, gave largely and cheerfully for the 
buildings and endowment, month by month, by far the larger 
share of the credit for our success should be given, under God, 
to the devoted native pastors. With a single temporary ex- 
ception, not one of these sixty-five men ever receives a rupee 
from America, or is beholden to the missionary for temporal 
assistance of any kind. Of course the missionary's influence 
over them is very different from what it would be if he had 
some thousands of rupees of foreign money to dispense among 
them annually. As a body, they are truly humble men ; and 
yet the writer would not know where to look for manlier men. 
Their influence over their own people is great. Their mutual 
regard, their confidence in each other, and their delicate respect 
for each other's feelings, are touching to behold, and have no 
little to do, probably, with their efficienc}'. A small volume 
might be filled with an account of their sacrifices. 

The church at Kaukau Pgah, which heads the list of the jun- 
gle churches, is by no means rich, even for a Karen church. 
It is composed largely of the poorest people ; but Rev. Dahbu, 
their noble pastor, is a man of resource and boundless faith. 
Of the Rs. 4,289-6 brought in by them for our buildings and 
the endowment, it is safe to say that the pastor himself con- 
tributed more than any four, perhaps more than any six, of his 
members. Some of the younger men, pastors of the smallest 
churches, have shown a spirit of self-sacrifice and devotion 
] arely equalled. Shway Louk, one of our old seminary gradu- 
ates, receives from his church a salary of just forty dollars a 
year in money, and about forty bushels of cleaned rice. He has 



386 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

raised from his own people $751 for the permanent buildings 
aud endowment of the school. Ng'Chee, also one of our old 
seminary pupils, receives from his little church of twenty-nine 
members twenty dollars a year only, and no rice. This would 
mean simple starvation, but for the fact that he receives about 
the same amouut from the Home Mission Society for his 
earnest labors among the heathen. He, too, has brought in for 
the school-buildings and endowment $162. Shway Chee and 
his gentle wife, graduates of the Karen Theological Seminary 
and the Bassein girls' school respectively, eke out a scanty 
living on $15.45 in money, and forty baskets of cleaned rice. 
Under his leading, the little church of twent3'-seven members 
has contributed $140 for the special object under considera- 
tion. The little church at Th'byeelat, the remotest of all our 
churches, has but twenty members on the roll ; j T et the good 
old elder, one of Abbott's men, has brought in $116 for the 
Institute buildings and endowment. 

The Hsen Leik church has given Rs. 1,660 for the Memorial 
Hall and Abbott Fund : of this the pastor, Rev. Thahree, for- 
merly Mr. Abbott's personal attendant for years, gave, with his 
children, Rs. 72 at one time, besides generous sums before and 
since. The Kyootoo church raised Rs. 2,630. Their pastor, 
Mau Yay, has been already referred to as the oldest of our 
pastors, and the first man to learn to read Karen in all Bassein. 
He is a gigantic man for a Karen, but as gentle as a child. At 
the time of the English attack on Bassein, his life was sought 
by the Burmans ; and it is said that the cross on which he was 
to be hung was actually constructed. His zeal in all good 
enterprises is unbounded. Notwithstanding the complete de- 
struction of their crops by floods, three years in succession, the 
Yaygyau church raised Rs. 1,408. Their pastor, old Nahpay, 
never recovered fully from the tortures inflicted upon him by 
the cruel Burmans. Up to the time of his death, in 1880, his 
limbs were still distorted, and he suffered greatly from rheu- 
matic pains. In October, 1877, when it was certain that their 
crop was again destroyed beyond hope, the old man surprised 



LENGTHENING CORDS, AND STRENGTHENING STAKES. S87 

ine one day by coining in with Rs. 50-5 for the Telugu fam- 
ine. I remonstrated with him, and told him that his people 
had no more rice for the year to come than the Telugus. I 
knew that the old man and his people were poverty-stricken 
and suffering, while intelligence had come, that, owing mainly 
to the unbounded generosity of the people of England, the crisis 
in Madras was passed. I proposed to him to take back a part 
or all of the money, and use it as he thought best ; but he 
would not listen to it. " We think that the Lord will not for- 
get us. He has destroyed the rice, but not the fish. We shall 
get on in some way." These cases are selected almost at 
random. Where nearly all have done nobly, to single out any 
may almost seem to be invidious. The best of it all is, that the 
elect ones in Bassein have no thought of stopping in this course 
of giving. Where can we look for brighter examples of sacri- 
fice and devotion on the part of whole communities in Christian 
America? 

In the very crisis of affairs, two months or so before the 
Jubilee, the writer proposed to send out some of his assistant 
teachers to aid a few of the pastors in raising their quotas ; but 
hardly one of them was willing to have an kt agent" to help 
them to do their own work. They said it would make them too 
much ashamed. Of course there are close-fisted, if not miserly, 
men, even among the Karens. One of the pastors told me of 
his unfailing device in such cases. He would go with one or 
two of his deacons, and quietly labor with the brother all day. 
Very little would be said directly of the real errand. Perhaps 
the man would disappear, and go to his work. If an apology 
was offered, it was readily accepted. They were in no haste. 
They had come to make him a good long visit. They would 
sleep with him that night, and have a long, earnest talk about 
" the kingdom of God." A second night was rarely necessary. 
The next morning, after family prayers, he was generally ready 
to meet their wishes. 

We would urge the importance, finally, of enlisting the aid of 
the native Christians, at the earliest possible day, in all depart- 



388 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

ments of mission expenditure, save only the personal support 
of the foreign teacher. The school-buildings and houses of 
worship on the mission-compound in town should not be 
excepted. No matter how small and insignificant the amount 
they give at first, let them have an opportunity to help. It is 
only thus that they can become accustomed to the idea of bear- 
ing all of their own burdens ; and they will never cease to creep 
in weakness, unless the}' are encouraged to stand erect, and 
walk. Strength and assurance come with the repeated use of 
limbs and will. "Sow an act, and 30U reap a habit; sow a 
habit, and you reap a character ; sow a character, and you reap 
a destiny." 



CHAPTER XX. 

1881 - 1887. 

"I believe that He who was once crowned with thorns shall yet be 
crowned with many crowns." — President Mark Hopkins. 

" All nations shall call Him blessed. Blessed be the Lord God, the God 
of Israel, who only doeth wondrous things. Blessed be his glorious name 
forever : and let the whole earth be filled with his glory. Amen, and 
Amen." — David, the son of Jesse. 

The fulfilment of the prophecy waits upon the lethargy and 
unbelief of God's people in Christian lands. Oh for the dawn- 
ing of that day of power in which all Christians, north, south, 
east, and west, the world around, shall be " willing " ! 

As the impregnable position assumed by the pioneer Basseiu 
missionaries from thirty to forty years ago has been still further 
fortified by events recorded in the later chapters, it may be well 
to sum up the wisdom of the pioneers, and the experience 
gained by their successors. Briefly, the principles by which 
the work in Bassein has been uniformly shaped, from the out- 
set to the present time, are these : — 

(a) "While all Christians, women and children as well as 
men, are bidden to bear a part in the direct work of evangeli- 
zation, it is a grave question whether God calls to exclusive!}* 
religious labor a larger proportion of his church in any land 
than can be supported, as well as the average membership live, 
from local sources. The command, " Go ye into all the world," 
etc., undoubtedly requires the personal service of a far greater 
number of the ablest men than have as yet responded ; but it 
does not (in our judgment) include for Christians at home the 

389 



390 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

duty of subsidizing foreign churches, or of affording regular 
support to any of the converts who may be made. 

(b) It is certain that the mere fact of a foreign missionary 
dispensing considerable sums of foreign money from month to 
month mars his influence. 

(c) It is deleterious to the native preacher himself, and to 
the native church, to receive foreign aid. 

(<7) It puts the native preacher in a false light before the 
.heathen, and seriously diminishes his usefulness. 

(e) The apostle Paul suffered neither in character nor influ- 
ence from making tents, elsewhere than in Fhilippi ; nor will 
the native preacher thus suffer, if, in default of a comfortable 
support from his own brethren, he ekes out the supply of his 
necessities, like the Baptist ministry of a former generation in 
America, by the labor of his own hands or brain for a portion 
of his time. 

In 1841 Mr. Abbott asked, for his great and most difficult 
work, Rs. 1.500. He was allowed but Its. 1,000 ($454) for 
every thing outside of his own support. Notwithstanding this 
hard treatment, he and his mission got on fairly well ; while the 
small Bnrman missions in Arakan, each of which received the 
same amount, and from which he asked for the aid of a few 
hundred rupees in vain, have long been practically extinct. 
The worst result of the lavish expenditure of home funds in 
mission-work is not so much the waste, as we deem it, of 
Christ's money, as the permanent weakening and emasculation 
of hundreds of young Christian communities. That destruc- 
tive influence the Sgau Karen churches of Bassein have wholly 
escaped, thank God ! 

On the whole, the prospects of the Bassein Karen mission, 
though not unclouded, are bright. The hands are too few, but 
the work is in good hands. May God speed the time when 
''the little one shall become a thousand, and the small one a 
strong nation," and when, " from the rising of the sun even 
unto the going-down of the same," the Lord's name " shall be 
great among the Gentiles"! What foreign missionary does 



THE TRUE POLICY. — GLANCES INTO THE FUTURE. 391 

not long for the day when his peculiar vocation shall be gone, 
— the clay in which the churches in lands now heathen shall be 
both competent and willing to manage all of their affairs, and 
to assume all of their Christian responsibilities, — the day when 
he may be released from the labor and cares which now almost 
crush him to the earth, — the day when he may be left free, 
either to spend his declining years in the home-land, amid the 
scenes of his youth, drinking in the healthful air of his native 
hills, or, girding himself for fresh conquests, to pass on with 
a force of his late disciples to the yet unevangclized regions 
beyond ? What of the night, watchman ? "What signs of 
promise herald that glad day when we may leave Burrna to the 
care of its own converted peoples, assured that its future and 
theirs will be bright with the presence and all-sufficient aid of 
the Redeemer King? 

From the facts set forth in the preceding chapters, it is evi- 
dent, we think, that many long steps towards pecuniary inde- 
pendence have already been taken in Bassein ; but, before 
complete moral and intellectual independence are achieved, it 
is equally evident, we think, that many more long steps must 
be taken. Note this patent fact. Whenever the numerous 
native missionaries of Bassein have been well led by their 
American brethren, as in Bassein itself, in Toungoo, Prome, 
and Bhamo, they have done yeoman service, and have been 
efficient factors, in the work of saving the lost. Note another 
fact, equally patent. Thus far, in almost every instance in 
which they have attempted independent missions, as in Upper 
Burma in 1859, towards Zimmay in 1863, later in the Meklong 
Valley of Siam, and, shall we add, beyond Zimmay to Lakon 
in 1881, their efforts have well-nigh come to naught. Long 
journeys have been made successfully ; money for the journe3's 
has been forthcoming, and abundant enthusiasm at the start : 
but of the home-coming, and of the spiritual results, what can 
we say? 

We have looked also with regret at their weakness in the 
presence of wrong-doing. If the offender were a Karen of 



od2 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

standing and influence, or a man likely to be a dangerous 
enemy, or even if he were but one of the same family or clan, 
whom they felt bound, as by secret oaths, to screen from jus- 
tice, how often have they silently endured his presence in 
the church or in the ministry, instead of openly rebuking the 
wrong, and taking scriptural steps for the excision, or the dis- 
cipline, of the offender ! These and other marked weaknesses 
of character must be overcome before the Karen churches will 
be truly independent, and able to walk erect, without support, 
superior to fear, and in danger of no deserved reproach. 

Like a young person, a young nation or people must pass 
through that period when the puffing-up of a little knowledge, 
and the lack of confirmed strength and confidence, lead to a 
somewhat unpleasant sensitiveness. The Karens seem to be 
approaching that stage. They are losing a little of their old 
docility, they are seeking new avenues to fortune and power ; 
some of them are casting about for leaders of their own race ; 
and perhaps a few would-be leaders are casting about for con- 
stituencies. All this is to be expected, and it indicates that 
the Karen Christians must be treated with more than ordinary 
gentleness and forbearance until they have had time to attain 
to that higher stage of mingled humility and self-respect which 
follows deeper knowledge and hard-won success. May God 
help and bless them always ! With their antecedents and the 
divine favor which has hitherto rested upon them, they cannot 
go far wrong ; and the day of complete independence, which 
they and we alike long for, will surely come. 

But what of this desired independence when that happy day 
arrives? Not a few friends of missions have congratulated 
themselves on the fact that one of the stations in Assam, in the 
absence of a missionary, has been left for a few years to the 
management of a native brother. This may have been the best 
arrangement possible under the circumstances : but the appoint- 
ment of any native brother by the Missionary Union to the 
place aud rank, as it were, of an American missionary ; the 
regular support of that brother by the Union on a salary much 



THE TRUE POLICY. — GLANCES INTO THE FUTURE. 393 

larger than he could hope to receive from a congregation of his 
own people ; the regular payment into his hands of considera- 
ble sums of mission-money for disbursement among the other 
native assistants, thus giving to him a prestige and power that 
is dangerous to his own character, and as foreign to Assamese 
ideas as it is to the polity of the New Testament, — this, we 
say, cannot be the true independence that we are looking for. 
Is it a small step even, in the direction of that independence? 
No. Complete pecuniary independence must come first. 

Then native leaders must arise, — God's men, " full of faith 
and of the Holy Ghost ; ' ' sous of Burma ; not Americanized 
Karens, but Karens of the Karens ; men so pre-eminent in 
goodness and greatness, that these qualities shall be recognized 
by their fellow-Christians, who will gladly call them, trust them, 
and support them, in preference to leaders of any other race, 
though they come bringing their own support. Such men are 
wanting uow. Their tune has not yet come. The educational 
conditions are still deficient, but they will be made complete. 
Schools higher and better than any that now exist in all that 
land will arise, and men of the requisite natural qualities will 
be forthcoming. Some of the first generation of pastors came 
short, only by their utter lack of school-privileges. Men like 
Tway Po and Po Kway among the dead, and men like Myat 
Keh and Man Yay, who are permitted still to linger among the 
living, had all of the natural qualifications of leadership. They 
had, besides, the grace of God in their hearts in large measure, 
and, not least, that rare meekness and humility which seem to 
be so sadly deficient in many of the younger men of the schools. 

The Karens are not a decaying people : they are rapidly 
increasing in numbers. 1 Their mental powers are not on the 
wane, neither is there any evidence that in spiritual things the 



i Between August, 1872, and February, 1881, the census says that the 
Karens of British Burma increased from 331,706 to 518,201, an increment 
of fifty-six per cent. This increase is due, not to immigration, but to fertil- 
ity. The ratio of increase for the Burmans in the same period was thirty- 
one per cent only, and they were aided by a large immigration from Upper 



394 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

grace of God has deserted them ; and yet it is a problem where 
the God-ordained leaders for whom we look and pray are to 
come from. Among the younger men, our own loved pupils, 
we see but few who give promise of being to the next generation 
what the men we have named, and others, have been to the 
present generation and the last. 

Our schools are not what they ought to be. Says President 
Eliot of Harvard, " A good school is not a grand building, or a 
set of nice furniture, or a series of text-books selected by the 
committee, or a programme of studies made up by the super- 
intendent ; and all of these tilings put together, though each 
were the best of its kind, would not make a good school ; for 
a good school is a man or a woman." Under Gocl the great 
want of the Karen people to-day is some man or men of com- 
manding intellect, of high training, and absolute devotion, who 
shall do for the choice youth of the rising generation what 
Arnold of Rugby and Wayland in Providence did for the J'oung 
men whom the}* first drew to their schools, and then moulded 
to be leaders of thought and action for communities and 
nations. If such men are to be found, let them know their 
opportunity, and let them go forth, secure of personal support 
from the home-land, but looking confidently for the means they 
need for their work among a grateful people. Let the Karen 
school or schools of the future be created, not out of nothing, 
but chiefly from the offerings called forth from a people respon- 
sive above most others to the slightest touch of loving and 
masterful devotion. Let the common schools be improved, and 
let them reach all, not one-fourth or one-sixth only, of the chil- 
dren. Let us keep striving until the family altar shall be natu- 
ralized in Karen homes, and until there shall be some show, at 
least, of family discipline. Let us strive to infuse a deeper 

Burma. The increase in the entire population of the Bassein district is 
over forty-four per cent, and to this increase the Karens contributed their 
full share. If the race should continue to multiply in this ratio for forty 
years to come, there would be over three millions of Karens in British 
Burma alone. 



THE TRUE POLICY. — GLANCES INTO THE FUTURE. 395 

and more genuine love for God's Word and for all useful books. 
Let us draw out more and more the missionary spirit of that 
missious-loving people, and systematize and stimulate their 
efforts in behalf of the perishing. And let us continually wait 
upon God for his begetting and his anointing grace. Then we 
may hope to see in due time a prosperous and enlightened peo- 
ple, rejoicing in that happy combination of natural gifts, grace, 
and culture, which shall mark the new era of complete inde- 
pendence for the Karen churches, and fit them for the highest 
and broadest usefulness. 

If there were evidence of a gradual, even though it were but 
a slow, throwing-off of the monetary shackles which cramp and 
enfeeble the development of native churches in some other 
fields, there would be less occasion for the lessons which this 
historical sketch enforces. One of the most dangerous fea- 
tures of the subsidizing system, which Mr. Abbott so vigorously 
attacks in Chap. VII., is its tendency to perpetuate its evil influ- 
ences. While there has been some gratifying advance, the 
fact should be recognized, abroad and at home, that the mission 
which he singled out in 1848 as the special object of his criti- 
cism still continues to be the most expensive of all the Baptist 
missions in Burma, while, for the amount of labor and money 
bestowed, it appears to have been rather below the average 
in fruitfulness. Another field in which the pioneer missionaries 
began their labors on the healthful principle of self-support has 
drawn, under the later management, increasingly heavy sums 
from the home churches, until now it is numbered among the 
most expensive of our missions. Too many other missions are 
lapsing deeper and deeper into the slough of dependence on 
foreign bounty. 

The Missionary Union as a whole, instead of being free to 
advance into new fields for the enlightenment of those who 
still sit in utter darkness, finds its resources subjected to a 
constant strain to supply the ever increasing demands from the 
old fields. However important and needful other branches of 
Christian work may be, most Christian people will agree that 



396 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

the chief work of an evangelical missionary society should be 
the maintenance in heathen lands of men from the home-land 
who are called of God to preach the everlasting gospel. The 
number of men actually engaged in this work on foreign shores 
at any given time may be taken as a fair measure of the 
amount of work done in this the main line of the society's 
operations. 

A careful study of the treasurer's reports of the A. B. M. 
Union year by year since 1840 shows, that, for the ten years 
1840 to 1849 inclusive, an average of 33 T <y American male 
missionaries were maintained in Asia, Africa, and Europe, 
including, with preaching missionaries, schoolmen, translators, 
printers, and new men learning the language. Dividing the 
gross expenditure for all purposes by the number of men on the 
field, we find the average expenditure to be $2,425.48 per man. 
From 1850 to 1859, an average of 36-j 3 ^ men were supported 
on the field at an average expenditure, for all purposes, of 
$3,070.39. From 1860 to 1869, an average of 31^ men were 
kept on the field at an average expenditure per man of $4,389.- 
15. From 1870 to 1879 there was an average of 43 t 4 q men, 
and an average expenditure of $5,336.35. From 1880 to 1883, 
notwithstanding the restoration of our currency to a gold basis, 
with an increased average of 54J men, there was a gross expen- 
diture of $5,322.80 per man. A part of this increased expen- 
diture is due to an increase of salaries paid to missionaries on 
account of the increased cost of living in the East ; a part is 
due to the sending-forth of so many worthy and efficient single 
women : but a careful analysis shows that neither one nor both 
of these together will account for the great discrepancy that 
exists between the expenditures of 1840 and 1883. To a large 
extent the increase is due to the largely increased sums expended 
upon native schools and native helpers. Taking at random the 
report for 1880-81 for a sample, we deduct the amount of 
"collections on the field," and the amount of annuities paid 
to donors of permanent funds, and we have left $275,079.99 
for expenditure. Of this total, we find that twenty-one per 



THE TRUE POLICY. — GLANCES INTO THE FUTURE. 397 

cent only ($60,030.90) was paid for the support of male mis- 
sionaries and their families on the field ; about seven per cent 
was paid for the support of thirty-eight single lady missiona- 
ries, mostly employed as teachers in the schools ; eight per 
cent, as nearly as we can reckon, was spent upon mission com- 
pounds, chapels, school and dwelling houses, of which half, 
perhaps, should be added to the cost of supporting mission- 
families on the field ; a trifle over seven per cent was paid for 
the outfit and passage of missionaries, male and female ; about 
four per cent was paid in allowances to missionaries at home 
on furlough ; eleven per cent was used for home expenses 
proper, including officers' salaries, publications, etc. ; while, 
as nearly as we can reckon, $78,593.45, or twenty-eight per 
cent of the whole, went for "schools and mission- work," of 
which nine-tenths, probably, was used in the support of native 
pupils, or natives engaged in teaching their countiymen or in 
preaching to them ; about ten per cent, also, was sent in aid 
of native work in Europe and Africa, while about five per cent 
was appropriated for Scriptures and printing. It is safe to 
say, that at some stations from two to six times more money 
from America is now spant than was spent in them by the 
fathers thirty years ago. 1 More than one of our own Baptist 
missions might be named which were begun on sound, economi- 



1 Over forty thousand dollars in specific donations were given last 
year, through the A. B. M. Union and the auxiliary Woman's Societies, for 
the support of native preachers, "Bible-readers," pupils, and schools, in 
addition to large appropriations frona those societies for the same objects. 
(Specific donations for the support of missionaries, for the Children's 
Home at Newton Centre, for Bible-work, and some other minor objects, 
are not included in the above statement.) If all of our missions would 
come up to the position which has been consistently maintained since 
1854 by the mission whose story is here told, this large sum, with a large 
proportion of the present appropriations for "mission-work" and schools, 
might be at once devoted to the establishment of new missions and the 
re-enforcement of old ones. The saving made by the hearty adoption of 
the self-supporting principle would suffice, even with no increase of giving 
from Christians at home, to enlarge the force of American missionaries on 
the field nearly if not quite one-half. 



3 98 BASSE IN KAREN MISSION. 

cal, self-supporting principles by the fathers, but which are 
now being weakened by the free expenditure of money given 
by the Sunday schools and churches of this land. Far less 
money for "station-work," so called, ten times more money 
for the support of earnest and devoted missionaries to be sent 
forth from America to reap the whitening harvests in a hundred 
fields both new and old, should be our rule of action. 

The doctrine of this book, and, we fear, the examples set by 
Bassein, are not welcome in some quarters ; and yet the preva- 
lence of these principles everywhere in our missions is vital to 
true and lasting success. What can be done to correct the evil 
referred to? what to convince the most unbelieving and unwill- 
ing minds? We reply, after long reflection, that the most 
direct way to promote self-support throughout Burma is to give 
to that principle its fullest development and its completest suc- 
cess in Bassein itself. It is not only the American missionaries 
in Bassein (to the Burmans, as well as to the Karens) who are 
the strongest advocates of the doctrine. Listen to Kyoukkeh * 
and Klehpo, away on the Toungoo mountains ; listen to the 
scores — shall it not be in the future the hundreds ? — of men 
trained in the Bassein schools, eye-witnesses of the benign 
effects of consecrated enterprise and beneficence on that wide 
circle of churches, using their influence to reproduce what they 
have seen, in all parts of Burma and in the adjacent lands. The 
strongest argument that we can put into the mouths of these 
and other men who agree with them, the strongest appeal that 
we can make to backward missions, is to secure the largest and 
completest success of this principle on the field of its earliest 
victories in Burma. What, then, is lacking there to-day? 

What is lacking in Bassein? Go with me to Great Plains, 
which once blossomed as the garden of the Lord (pp. 89, 173). 
Many of the descendants of Wahdee's flock are still there ; the 
fruit-trees which he planted still feed the dwellers by the sea : 



i See Kev. A. Bunker's report of an address " of unusual fire and force : 
on this subject by Kyoukkeh, Missionary Magazine, June, 1S70, p. 171. 



TEE TRUE POLICY.— GLANCES INTO TIIE FUTURE. 399 

but the candlestick has been removed, the church is extinct. 
Drunkenness and licentious revels have taken the place of 
sober industry aud hymns of praise. Buffalo, M'gay-hmau, 
To-kwau, Layloo, Shankweng, and Wah-klaulot are not much 
better off. A dozen others are honey-combed with impoverish- 
ing, soul-destroying superstitions. Always weak by reason of 
the unconverted element admitted at the beginning, they are 
steadily going backward and downward. Half of the churches 
are comparatively strong ; but many things need to be set in 
order, even in them : and the half-light of the morning should 
be superseded by the full light of God's day. The dead and 
dying churches want only to be let alone ; but the great desire 
and the greatest need of the living, self-sacrificing churches 
and pastors is, and has been for thirty years, a vernacular 
Bible school in Bassein itself. 1 

The simple fact is, that Bassein has been heavily handicapped 
from the time of the first great ingathering in 1844 until now. 
Her very numbers, and the weight of the interests involved, 
have been in the way of her pastors receiving that careful in- 
struction which was essential to the spiritual prosperity of the 
mission. Said Abbott, " I deem it absolutely essential that I 
see all these men together once in the year. Even were I per- 
mitted to visit Burma, and go from church to church through 
the whole land, I should still deem it essential to have an annual 
association of pastors, . . . and to have them all together for 
several weeks, perhaps months. . . . They cannot go to Maul- 
main. . . . They have no libraries" (p. 152). Dr. Stevens 
can call his Burman preachers around him every rains for care- 
ful and systematic study of the Bible doctrines and church 
history. Dr. Cross and Messrs. Bunker and Crumb in Toun- 
goo can and do give hours of solid work to teaching the Bible 
and other studies every day during the rains. The Karen 
missionaries at most of the other stations can do the same for 
their preachers and young men, but the man at Bassein is 

1 See pp. 284, 311, 325, 326, 341, 350, and elsewhere in this volume. 



400 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

utterly unable to do any thing of the kind. His time and 
strength are absolutely used up on other more importunate 
objects and in the work of superintendence. True, he has the 
help of one or more ladies from America, and several good 
native assistants ; but it is vain to think that these will supply 
the lack of his own personal instruction and influence. Abbott, 
in his annual meetings with the preachers at Ong Khyoung, 
exerted a mighty influence, the effects of which are still visible. 
But Abbott's men are fast passing away. For twenty years 
or more but little has been attempted in the way of personal 
teaching of the pastors and candidates for the ministry by the 
missionarj' in Bassein ; and, unless something is done to supply 
this pressing necessity speedily, still greater declension may be 
expected. 

The compiler of this volume returned to America, at the close 
of 1880, broken down in health, but charged by the Bassein 
pastors with an important mission, — a mission that has waited 
hitherto upon the completion of this history, and the restoration, 
in some measure, of his strength. At the meeting of the Pas- 
tor's Conference, held in Bassein, May 2G, 1880, the following 
resolutions were unanimously adopted, and signed by nearly 
if not quite all who were present : — 

" Resolved, 1. That, without one American missionary devoted 
exclusively to the work of teaching and conducting a Bible-school in 
the vernacular languages, the system of schools in Bassein is utterly 
incomplete, and unable to do for us and for the heathen that which 
must be done continuously for generations to come, if Christianity is 
ever to be extended and developed properly in this great district and 
the regions beyond: therefore 

" Resolved, 2. That we earnestly desire teacher Carpenter, during 
his approaching sojourn in America, to secure the services of such a 
teacher, and an endowment of forty thousand dollars for his support 
and for the partial support of the school. 

" Resolved, 3. That, for our part, we hereby pledge ourselves and 
our churches, in good faith, to build a suitable house for the mission- 
ary teacher aforesaid, at a cost of not less than five thousand rupees ; 
to furnish the school with all needed permanent buildings, and to 



THE TRUE POLICY. — GLANCES INTO THE FUTURE. 401 

give rice (paddy) year by year, amply sufficient for the sustenance of 
all pupils who may resort to the school. 
(Signed) 



"Rev 


Mau Yay. 


Preacher Too-kyau. 


« 


Myat Keh. 


« 


Ay-shah. 


M 


TOHLO. 


u 


N'kay. 


« 


Dahbu. 


« 


SOO-KOH. 


(I 


Yoh Po. 


« 


Shway Chee. 


« 


Thaiiree. 


«< 


Kohkoh. 


it 


TOHTAH. 


« 


Mau Loogyee. 


M 


POHTOO. 


Teacher Kg'thay. 


(( 


POO GoUNG. 


« 


Yahbah. 


« 


Pahoo. 


<( 


Boganau, M.D. 


(( 


Myat Koung. 


«< 


Nyahgeh. 


« 


ToOLAT. 


M 


Thahtoo-oo. 


(( 


Thahdway. 


a 


Mau Shway Too 


M 


Shway Gah. 


u 


Nahgoo. 


« 


Tayxau. 
Mau-oo. 


« 


Pah ah." 



This money is wanted, not for the support of native preach- 
ers, not to feed and clothe the youth of Bassein, not for build- 
ings and land even, but for the support of one additional Amer- 
ican teacher in Bassein, if not two. It is easily within the 
power of a few of the many wealthy Baptists of the Northern 
States to grant the urgent request of the leading pastors and 
laymen of Bassein by furnishing a moderate endowment for this 
most important object. The numerous friends and admirers of 
E. L. Abbott alone might do it, and thus complete for all time, 
so far as pecuniary aid from America is concerned, the work 
which he so grandly began. Shall it be done ? By thus sub- 
dividing the work, the apparent necessity for the one man to 
kill himself will be obviated ; the work may be done with a 
thoroughness hitherto impossible ; new influences potent for 
good may be brought to bear upon that field of vast capabili- 
ties ; and the reproach which has so long rested upon American 
Baptists, of making inadequate provision for the removal of the 



402 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

ignorance and superstition so long rampant in that field, will be 
taken away. 

To one who has been intimately connected with the Bassein 
mission for fifteen years, the new stage to which the work 
should be speedily advanced unfolds itself in these forms : — 

(1) Having established the proposed Bible-school, we would 
call in as many of the pastors as possible, every rains, for 
special courses of study adapted to their wants. Either provis- 
ion should be made for their families on the school-compound, 
or they should be allowed to return to them on Saturdays. 
Their pulpits would be supplied, in their absence, by the 
village school-teacher, who is generally, in effect, a licensed 
preacher. In this way twenty or thirty of the unordained 
pastors might, without doubt, be speedily fitted to assume the 
full responsibilities of the pastoral office, and a vast deal of 
quickening and uplifting influence might be brought to bear 
through the pastors on the entire district. 

(2) The entire native Christian population of Bassein should 
be resolved into a Christian education society. This plan 
is already being set on foot by Mr. Nichols. Certificates of 
life-membership have been prepared. Any Christian Karen 
may become a life-member of the new society by the payment 
of twenty rupees in instalments or at one time, or a life 
patron of the Institute by the immediate payment of a hun- 
dred rupees. A main object is, of course, to secure an endow- 
ment for the Institute, but not for that only. If the people 
grasp the new idea with their former enthusiasm, the "Abbott 
Fund " will equal a hundred thousand rupees within five years, 
and it will go on increasing as the churches receive new acces- 
sions. The income of such an amount would more than suffice 
for the wants of the Institute, and we could go on and rear 
" academies" in local centres like Singoo-gyee, Merpahk'mah, 
Hsen Leik, Naupeheh, Lehkoo, M'gayl'hah, P'nahtheng, Para- 
khyoung, and others. Grants from the endowment income, of 
from two to four hundred rupees yearly, would enable the lib- 
eral churches above named to employ two competent teachers 




Rev. Maukeh, his Wife, and Shway Oyau, Bassein Missionaries to the Kakhyens. 



THE TRUE POLICY. — GLANCES INTO THE FUTURE. 403 

the year round. If, in addition, we should be in a position 
to release those villages from all responsibility of supplying the 
town-school with rice, we believe that they would go on, and 
make provision for the entertainment of pupils from other vil- 
lages. Thus we should have a system of "feeders" for the 
Institute, and there would be a great gain in general intelli- 
gence. We should hope, also, ultimately to aid the common 
village-schools. 

But more especially our object in this educational movement 
would be to enlist the minds and hearts of all the people for 
the Christian education of all their children, girls as well as 
boys, up to the point where they can not only read and write, 
but think for themselves, and communicate their thoughts to 
others. While Bassein has sent forth scores of men like Rev. 
Sau Tay, Rev. Shway Noo, and Taytay, teachers in the theo- 
logical seminary ; Rev. Thanbyah in the Rangoon College ; 
Rev. Myat Thah, assistant to Rev. D. L. Bray ton in the trans- 
lation of the Pwo Karen Bible ; Revs. Thahmwa} T , Shway Nyo, 
Mau Kyah, Kwee Beh, and Shway Do, pastors in the Rangoon 
association ; Rev. Toowah in Henthada ; Rev. Pahgau in 
Prome ; Bogalay in Tavoy ; a goodly company already referred 
to in Toungoo ; and, best of all, nine foreign missionaries now 
at work (some of them with wives trained in the Bassein Karen 
girls' school) on the Kakhyen Mountains, and on the upper 
waters of the Sal ween, far beyond British territory ; while it 
has been in the past, and ought to be still more in the future, 
the great hive from which preachers and teachers go forth to 
all parts of the land, — the fact remains, that, in educational 
matters, Bassein is very, very backward. 

(3) Steps should soon be taken towards an arrangement 
which shall do for these churches what "the Sustentation 
Fund" is doing for the free churches of Scotland. The 
" pice-a-week " collection, already started, if systematized, and 
devoted by the churches generally to the objects now proposed, 
could easily be made to yield from six thousaud to eight thou- 
sand rupees yearly. A moiety of this sum would be sufficient, 



404 BASSEIN KAREN MISS/OX. 

if carefully distributed, to bring up the salaries of all approved 
pastors to not less thau a hundred rupees in cash and seventy- 
five baskets of paddy for each family annually. How would 
brotherly love increase, and comfort, with no degrading sense 
of dependence on foreign bounty ! The other half would enable 
us at once to double or treble our expenditure on foreign 
mission-work. The fields opening so auspiciously on the 
borders of China and in Northern Siani could be occupied in 
strong force, and an avenue thus be opened to the gospel, and 
to the energies and faith of our most zealous and enterprising 
young ministers. Nor should we relax our efforts in this direc- 
tion until every Christian in Bassein is warmly enlisted in 
missionary work. 

(4) We have long had it in mind to institute each season, 
after harvest, a scries of what may be called "revival meet- 
ings " in convenient jungle centres, in the hope of calling down 
upon this people, who seem to be rather unsusceptible to emo- 
tion, a more than ordinary measure of the Holy Spirit's power. 
A meeting of days, devoted exclusively to prayer and the 
exhibition of divine truth in its more pungent forms, would be 
something new in Bassein ; and, if wisely and prayerfully fol- 
lowed up, we believe that great good might be accomplished. 

Without the addition of the vernacular Bible-school to the 
agencies alread} 7 existing, no great increase in efficiency can 
be looked for. The machinery already existing in Bassein is 
more than enough to task the powers of one man to the utmost, 
though he were of the ablest. Nor have we failed, we believe, 
to make the largest use possible of the abundant supply of na- 
tive talent available at this station. The obvious deficiency is 
that pointed out so often from Beecher's day to the present, — ■ 
more American brain and heart to teach God's Word, to devise 
plans, and, not least, to stimulate and direct the great store 
of life and energy that lies dormant in that circle of ninety 
self-supporting, but, alas, for the most part, self-contained and 
self-satisfied churches. With the addition asked for to the 



THE TRUE POLICY. — GLANCES INTO THE FUTURE. 405 

teaching and executive force of the mission, and friction watch- 
fully excluded, the effectiveness of the mission in all its depart- 
ments should be doubled. The work would be systematized 
more thoroughly, and a large increase of power and of precious 
result would be secured. Shall the boon asked for be denied? 
What field has yielded a richer harvest from the seed sown and 
the labor bestowed upon it? Does any field now open to the 
Missionary Union give brighter promise of vigorous growth 
and abundant fruitage from roots within itself than this? If 
so, where is it? 

The Bassein jubilee properly falls at Christmas-tide, 1887. 
The fiftieth anniversary of Abbott's first visit to Kyootoo will 
doubtless be observed with becoming solemnities. Shall it also 
be observed with fulness of joy? Before that year of grace, 
with its hallowed associations and precious memories, comes 
around, the Bible-school, with the help of God and his people in 
America, maybe in full operation; the "Abbott Endowment 
Fund," raised by Karens, may be brought up to fifty thousand 
dollars ; the present preparatory school may be enlarged, and 
elevated to a higher and a secure position ; the girls' school 
may have taken on completer form and fulness of strength ; 
half a dozen academies ma} 7 be working efficiently at as many 
convenient points in the district ; a full hundred common 
schools, in the charge of well-qualified masters and mistresses, 
may be doing their no less important work in as many Chris- 
tian villages. In all these schools there may be not less than 
four thousand boys and girls, young men and maidens, in daily 
attendance. The number of living, growing churches in the 
district, shall have surpassed a round hundred ; the members in 
full communion, a myriad. Fifty, sixty, ordained pastors, and 
a hundred licensed preachers, shall see to it. that, with regular 
ministrations of the word to all Christians, not a heathen 
Karen family in all the district fails to receive the offer of sal- 
vation at least yearly, while a thousand miles away, among 
the robber-haunts of the Kakhyens, and in the realms of des- 



406 BASSEIN KAREN MISSION. 

potic Laos princes, a score or two at least of humble, faithful 
sous of redeemed Basseiu, shall be found proclaiming Christ 
and him crucified, the only Saviour of lost men. 

When we survey the past, what God has wrought from such 
feeble beginnings, the souls that have been born again, the 
workmen that have there received training ; as we look forth 
upon those churches, and see that their faith in the school and 
in the missions of their own planning, and their willingness to 
sacrifice in this glorious cause, are, if possible, greater than 
ever ; as we look out upon the heathen, and see village after 
village, and tribe after tribe, calling for teachers to lead them 
into the way of light and life, — our hearts swell with courage 
and hope. Surely, with all the imperfections and failures, this 
is a viue of God's own planting. To his name be praises ever- 
lasting ! And may he incline all who read this record to test 
the methods which have secured his favor in such glorious re- 
sults ! " God loveth the cheerful giver " indeed ; but he loveth 
best him who is judicious as well as cheerful in his giving. 
Why should we not help first those who desire Christian instruc- 
tion, and are striving to help themselves? May the Spirit of 
truth help us all to see " eye to eye " ! 

Finally, O ye Christians of great Christian America ! absorbed 
in your farms, your merchandise, your stocks, your families, 
and in responding to the claims of "society," ye who are 
engrossed with the architecture of your churches, the music, 
the sermons, and all the proprieties and elegancies of public 
worship in these modern days, know ye that the populations 
of the Pagan world, sixteen times more numerous than the 
entire population of your own enlightened land, are perishing 
for lack of the gospel which you can give them, to }"our own 
unspeakable advantage. They, God's men and women, for 
whom our Lord and Saviour died, are going down to the star- 
less, eternal night of the idolater and the devil-worshipper, with 
no hope. Your Karen allies on heathen shores are in the fore- 
front of the battle, eager for service, but half-armed and un- 



TEE TRUE POLICY. — GLANCES INTO TEE FUTURE. 407 

disciplined. They cry for anus ; they cry for leaders. Is not 
Jesus Christ your King ? Has he not laid this great work upon 
you? Awake! The King's business requires haste. "How 
shall they call on Him in whom they have not believed? and 
how shall they believe in him of whom they have not heard? 
and how shall they hear without a preacher? and how shall 
they preach except they be sent?" 

" Shall we whose souls are lighted 

With wisdom from on high, — 
Shall we, to men benighted, 

The lamp of life deny ? 
Salvation, oh, salvation! 

The joyful sound proclaim, 
Till earth's remotest nation 

Has learned Messiah's name." 



APPENDICES. 



APPENDIX. 



411 



APPENDIX A. 

Statistics showing the growth of the Bassein Karen Churches, 1S57-79. 



Year. 



1S57 

1S58 

1859 

1S60 

1861 

1862 

1863 

1864 

1865 

1866 

1867* 

1863* 

1369* 

1870* 

1871* 

1872 

1873 

1874 

1875 

1S76 

1S77 

1S73 

1879 



3 

o 



o 



52 
52 
55 

56 
61 
64 
64 
67 
69 
70 
58 
58 
59 
61 
64 
81 
82 
83 
80 
81 
83 
88 
92 



9 
9 
9 

10 
10 
15 
15 
17 
18 
14 
14 
20 
21 
19 
27 
26 
31 
31 
31 
30 
30 
31 



_T3 

a> 3 
3 cS 

'I s 

§8.2 

_j *^ a 



77 
89 
92 
94 
93 

60 
76 
71 
78 
100 
103 
92 
94 
87 
92 
93 
99 



ft, 

3 
T3 

<S 



265 
151 
298 
194 
274 
244 
196 
373 
283 
270 
281 
263 
363 
267 
232 
379 
260 
356 
330 
277 
407 
395 
365 



o.3 
. o 
otfi 
fa 



820 
394 
665 
735 
1,062 
874 
1,070 
1,006 
1,188 
1,118 
1,175 
1,321 
2,057 
1,818 
1,616 
2,071 
1,942 
1,833 
1,993 
1,884 
1,544 
1,858 
1,998 



o 

fa; 



«3« 



5,345 
5,378 
5,479 
5,501 
5,776 
5,926 
6,015 
6,172 
6.2S9 
6,374 
5,862 
5,938 
6,169 
6,201 
6,219 
6,814 
6,922 
7,433 
7,207 
7,314 
7,464 
7,562 
7,813 



rs 3 

§29 



« 3 °« 



Rs. 

6,7S5 

6,074 
8,400 
9,5S6 
10,604 
9,518 
10,702 
14,069 
20,666 
16,443 
15,338 
16,289 
19,364 
18,746 
15,191 
20,879 
23,575 
23,822 
31,490 
33,006 
39,525 
53,572 
6S.327 






s?a 



Rs. A. 
1-4 

1-2 

1-8 

1-12 

1-13 

1-10 

1-12 

2-4 

3-4 

2-9 

2-10 

2-12 

3-2 

3-0 

2-7 

3-1 

3-6 

3-3 

4-6 

4-8 

5-5 

7-1 

8-12 



* Pwo Karen statistics not included from 1867 to 1S71 inclusive. 



412 



APPENDIX. 



APPENDIX B. 

Contributions of the Bassein Sgau Karen Churches. 











Special from 


Ordinart and 




Church. 


Pastor. 


o 

00 

aa 
o 

a 


1S68 to 1880. 


Special for '79. 


n 

D 


■73^, . . 

2 i*^ 
BSbm 


u 
o 

p. 

C 

S l 
<a •> 

< 


o ftg# 

o. o o 


<u 

fc£-= 
C3 g 










Rs. A. 


Rs. A. P. 


Rs. 


Rs. A. P. 


1 


Institute church 




Rev. Shway Gah 




53 


2,303- 1 


43- 7- 3 


805 


15- 3- 


2 


Kaukau Pgah 






" Dahbu . 




182 


4,289- 6 


23- 9- 


3,111 


17- 1- 6 


3 


Shau Yuah . 






" Pohtoo . 




146 


3,179- 


21-12- 4 


1.9S3 


13-9-4 


4 


Thoungyee . 






" Toolah . 




84 


1,684- 5 


20- 0- 9 


765 


9- 1- 9 


5 


Para Khyoung 






" Deeloo . 




240 


4,613-15 


19-3-7 


3,049 


12-11- 3 


6 


Hohlot . . 






Shway Louk . 




87 


1,652- 3 


18-15-10 


713 


8-3-2 


7 


Naupeheh . 






Rev. Tohlo . . 




16S 


3,104- 4 


18- 7- 7 


1,799 


10-11- 4 


8 


Ng'kwah 






Too-au . . . 




75 


1,355- 


18-1-0 


836 


11- 2- 4 


9 


Kyootoo . . 






Rev. Mau Yay 




153 


2,629- 8 


17- 2 11 


1,094 


7- 2- 5 


10 


Kohsoo . . 






" My at Keh 




175 


2,997- 9 


17- 2- 1 


2,028 


11- 9- 5 


11 


Singoogyee . 






" Baugyee . 




154 


2,469- 8 


16-0-0 


1,055 


6-13- 7 


12 


Kahb'lah . 






" Th'dah 1 . 




61 


931- 5 


15- 4- 3 


607 


9-15- 2 


13 


Adalouk . . 






" Toomyat 1 




43 


609-14 


14- 2-11 


491 


11- 6- 8 


14 


Yuahplau . 






Pohnahpay 1 . 




71 


977- 8 


13-12- 2 


849 


11-15- 3 


15 


Siugoung 






N'kay. . . . 




88 


1,194- 


13- 9- 1 


623 


7- 1- 3 


16 


Dehtherpler 






Thahlootoo . . 




27 


363- 8 


13- 7- 5 


247 


9- 2- 4 


17 


Zounyahgyun 






Pahlo 2 . . . 




43 


563- 9 


13- 1- S 


264 


6- 2- 3 


IS 


P'heeloo . . 






Rev. Tohtah 1 . 




90 


1,154-12 


12-13- 3 


719 


7-15-10 


19 


Th'byaylah . 






Sahyay . . . 




20 


255- 


12-12- 


158 


7-14- 5 


20 


Taukoo . . 






Deedah 1 . . . 




S5 


1,049- 8 


12- 5- 6 


479 


5-10- 2 


21 


Lahyo . . . 






Rev. Ng'Chee . 




29 


357- 


12- 5- 


191 


6-9-5 


22 


Kaulah . . 






" Myatsoh . 




49 


599- 


12- 3- 7 


370 


7- 8- 9 


23 


Kyangahdouk 






" Toomway 




91 


1,107- 


12- 2- 7 


635 


6-15- 7 


24 


Mohgoo . . 






Maupay . . . 




197 


2,336-15 


11-13- 9 


1,021 


5- 2-11 



1 Deceased. 



a Fallen. 



APPENDIX. 



413 



APPENDIX B.— Continued. 











Special from 


Ordinary and 




Church. 


Pastor. 


o 

CO 

T-i 

w 

o 

s 

o 


1S63 to 1880. 


Special for'79. 


M 


X ** L J 2 

t! ~ Li •- 

.2 ^ • <a 

-3 =M 3 

— > . HH 


o 

o 3 
a g 
5 5 


For Support of 
Pastors, Chap- 
el.--. Schools, etc., 
and Endowm't. 


o 

ft. 

£ 

S 2 

0) o 










r.3. a. 


Rs. A. P. 


Es. 


lis. A. P. 


25 


Awahbeik .... 


Rev. S'Bleh . 




85 


1,000- 8 


11-12- 4 


625 


7-5-8 


26 


Kwengyah, 2 . . . 


Shway Chee . 




27 


303- 


11- 6- 6 


299 


11- 1- 2 


27 


Kyun Khyoung . . 


Rev. Thahdway 




155 


1,660- 4 


10-11- 4 


1,562 


10- 1- 3 


28 


Penehkweng . . . 


" Pahooi . 




89 


949-11 


10-10- 8 


602 


6-12- 3 


"1 


Taupausoh .... 
P'nahtheng .... 






101 


1,041- 4 
1,855- 5 


10- 4-11 


1,014 


10- 0- 7 


30 


Rev. Po Kway 1 




183 


10- 2- 2 


2,232 


12- 3- 2 


31 




" Thahree . 




165 


1,060- 


10- 1- 


2,598 


15-11-11 


32 




Shwaymyee . 




45 


450- 


10- 0- 


234 


5- 3- 2 


33 


Khyoungbyah . . . 


Shwaylin 2 . . 




58 


572- 6 


9-13-10 


246 


4- 3-10 


34 


Teelaypeng .... 






59 


564- 


9- 8-11 


322 


5-7-3 


35 




Shway Too . . 




87 


827- 8 


9-8-2 


302 


3- 7- 6 


36 




Shway Byu . . 




62 


571- 4 


9- 3- 5 


867 


13-15- 9 


37 


M'gayl'hah .... 


Rev. Too Po . 




133 


1,195- 3 


8-15- 9 


1,201 


9-0-6 


38 


Merpahk'mah . . . 


" Thahyway 1 




233 


2,087-12 


8-15- 4 


1.S80 


S- 1- 1 


RO 


Th'hauser .... 


Toothah . . . 




9 2 


193- 8 
1,149- 4 


8-12- 8 

8- 0- 7 


77 
580 


3- 8- 


40 


Rev. Poo Goung 




143 


4- 0-11 


41 




" Jlyatsoh . 




US 


930- 8 


7-14- 2 


23S 


2-0-3 


42 


Tahtaseng .... 


Toombaa . . 




54 


425- 


7-13-11 


610 


11- 4- 9 


43 


Dallah Thounggyee . 






117 


914- 8 


7-12- 3 


626 




■11 


Pohlin . . . 




18 
80 


131- 
571- 6 


7-4-5 
7- 2- 3 


135 
915 


7- 8- 


45 


Rev. Tahloo . 




11- 7- 


46 


Mwayzah .... 


.Shway Gyah . 




47 


330- 2 


7- 0- 4 


181 


3-13- 7 


47 


Meethwaydike. . . 


Rev. Thahtooau 




134 


937- 


0-15-10 


090 


5- 2- 5 


48 


Danoo Khyoung . . 


Kweeyoh . . 




108 


742- S 


6-14- 


729 


6-12- 


49 




Mau Loogyee . 




06 


4-19-12 


6-13- 


415 


6-4-7 



1 Deceased. 



Fallen. 



414 



APPENDIX. 



APPENDIX B.— Concluded. 



- 
- 
u 



50 
51 
52 
53 
54 
55 
56 
57 
53 
59 
60 
61 
62 
63 
64 
65 
66 
GT 
63 
60 
70 
71 



Church. 



Pastor. 



Special prom 
1SG8 to 1880. 



,5 H .tO 



,cS~ 3 






ga 



Ordinary and 

Special F(ir '7'.'. 



-5* a 

^ x - X 
= r 2 • • 

v. a v. ~ 

CD -^ 

0P4 q) cj 



eg 



Kyauk'rer 
Hseatgyee 
Shankweng , 
Tauk'loh. 
"Wetsoo . 
Mahgon . 
Layloo . 
Yaygyau . 
Taukahlat 
Kwaydoukkhyoung . 
Kwengyah, 1 . 
Kyedaukweng . 
Winkabah . . 
Tohkwau . . 
Ong Khyoung . 
Xyohmau . . 
Tanthonbeng . 
Seingteekweng 
Kwengthah . . 
Buffalo . . . 
Khyenggon . . 
Gonmeng . . 



Sahdoo . . 
Sau Ng'too . 
Pahyeh 1 . . 
Thabchoo . 
Mau Ko . . 
Rev. Yohpo 
Shway Au . 
Rev. Nahpay 8 
Mau Go . . 
Rev. Myat Koung 



Shway So . 
Shway Nee . 
Thahlweh . 
Maudau . . 
Shway Bau . 
Kabpeh 
Keekeh 
Ay shah 



107 
64 
52 
39 
86 
57 

100 

274 
99 
74 
65 

140 
72 
57 

105 

1S9 
G7 

171 
45 
31 
20 
37 



Rs. A. 

709- 4 

407- 7 

312- 2 

230- 

467- 2 

307- 

516- 

1,407- 8 

486- 5 

342- 

2G2- 7 

562- 

2S2-10 

209- 4 

384- 4 

657-10 

191- 

430- 3 

97- 

39- 7 

20- 4 

17- 



Rs. A. P. 

6-10- 

6- 5-10 
6-0-0 
5-14- 4 
5- 6-11 
5- 6- 2 
5- 2- 6 
5- 2- 2 
4-14- 7 
4- 9-11 
4-0-7 
4- 0- 2 
3-14- 9 
3-10- 8 
3-10- 6 
3- 7- 8 
2-13- 6 
2- 8- 
2- 2- 6 
1- 4- 4 
1-0-2 
0- 7- 4 



Rs. 

520 

375 

Not in 

570 
337 
369 
231 

5S7 
254 
390 

No re 

303 
236 
113 
254 
6S6 
258 
356 
80 

No re 
>'o re 

>"o re 



Rs. A. P. 

4-13- 9 

5-13- 9 

fellowship. 

14- 9-10 
3-14- 8 
6- 7- 7 
2- 5- 
2- 2- 3 
2- 9- 
5-4-4 

turn. 

2- 2- 7 
3-4-5 
2- 0- 
2-6-8 
3-10- 1 
3-13- 7 
2- 1- 4 
1-12- 5 

turn. 



i Fallen. 



2 Deceased. 



N. B. — Twelve pies make one anna ; sixteen annas, one rupee. The rupee, at par of 
exchange, is nearly equivalent to 45.| cents United-States money. Owing to the fall in 
value of all silver currencies, the value of the Indian rupee at present is about 41 cents. 



APPENDIX. 415 



APPENDIX C. 

TESTIMONIALS TO THE EXCELLENCE OF THE BASSELN KAREN NOR- 
MAL AND INDUSTRIAL INSTITUTE. 

Hon. Sir Ashley Eden, then Chief Commissioner of British 
Burma, since Lieutenant-Governor of Bengal, and member of the 
Council for India, after spending several hours in the school (Sept. 2, 
1871), wrote officially as follows : — 

" I may safely say, that I have seldom paid a visit to any school from 
which I derived more satisfaction and pleasure. The proficiency of 
these Karen children in geography, arithmetic, and geometry, was ex- 
traordinary, and reflects the highest credit upon those by whom they 
have been taught. I had not time to hear the classes go through their 
course of study in any subjects except those I have mentioned. The 
singing was remarkably good. . . . No doubt, in the course of time 
the training of a large number of Karen children will leaven the mass 
of the Karen population." 

In September, 1873, Bishop Milman of Calcutta wrote as follows in 
the Visitor's Book of the Institute : — 

" I had much pleasure in visiting the Sgau Karen Institute, under the 
charge of the Rev. Mr. Hopkinson. I cannot, from ignorance of the lan- 
guage, judge with any certainty; but, as far as I could follow, the pupils 
seemed well taught. The answers were quickly given, and apparently 
with accuracy: the tone and manner of the school seemed very good. 
The English taught was good, as far as it went. It is pleasant to see 
these Christian schools, and to consider what general progress in the 
district they indicate. I am sorry that I have not time to write more 
fully. 

(Signed) "R Calcutta, 

" Bishop and Metropolitan." 

Mr. Rivers Thompson, C.S.I., Chief Commissioner of British Burma, 
and later a member of the Supreme Government in Calcutta, made 
a personal donation of two hundred rupees to the school, and wrote 
as follows, Aug. 24, 1875 : — 

"I visited the Sgau Karen school this day, accompanied by Capt. and 
Mrs. Wells. The different classes were examined before me in English 
reading, the Scriptures, arithmetic, geography, and the elements of 
physiology, with a success which gave me a very pleasant surprise. 

" I wish to record, what I took the opportunity of expressing verbally 



11G APPENDIX. 

at the close of the examination, that the government is largely indebted 
to Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter and their coadjutors for the work they have 
undertaken in the education and advancement of these tribes. It is a 
very noble work, looked at merely for its secular advantages ; but it has 
higher aims, and will, I have no doubt, under God's blessing, bear rich 
fruit yet for the good of the district and the country generally. . . . 

"The Institution well deserves the grant-in-aid which it receives from 
government." 

The next chief commissioner, Mr. C. U. Aitchison, C.S.I., now 
Lieutenant-Governor of the North- West Provinces, with a handsome 
donation, wrote as follows, July 6, 1878 : — 

" The visit which I paid to this school yesterday afforded me the most 
sincere pleasure. I had often heard of the school before I came to 
Burma, but was not prepared to find it so large, so efficient, so thor- 
oughly well managed in every respect. The importance of the work, 
both secular and missionary, which is being quietly and efficiently done 
by Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter and their staff of teachers, cannot be over- 
estimated. They are laboring in a field which the government cannot 
by its educational establishment overtake; and their efforts for the edu- 
cation and elevation of the Karen tribes deserve the cordial acknowl- 
edgments of all interested in the welfare of this province. Those more 
competent to estimate with precision the educational results than I am 
have recorded opinions most favorable to the school and the methods of 
teaching adopted in it. For myself, I will say, that the pupils in the 
various classes examined acquitted themselves in reading, spelling, arith- 
metic, and geography, better than in any of the schools I have yet seen 
in Rangoon, or elsewhere in Burma. In writing English to dictation, the 
pupils were not so strong. 1 I heartily wish Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter God- 
speed in their noble work. " 

Bishop Titcomb wrote as follows on the same day : — 

" The Bishop of Rangoon, who accompanied the Chief Commissioner 
in his visit to this Normal School, has the sincerest pleasure in stating 
his full concurrence with every word written upon the preceding page. 
The bishop left the Institution lifting up his heart in praise to God for 
the noble and successful work of missionary education conducted by the 
American brethen, and begs to assure them, that, so long as he is spared 
to the diocese upon which he has entered, their labors will always have 
both his sympathy and admiration. 

(Signed) "J. H., Rangoox." 

1 Owing to a lack of time, Mr. Aitchison was unable to examine the two 
highest classes. — C. H. C. 



APPENDIX. 4 1 7 

Mr. M. II. Ferrars, Senior Inspector of Schools, had officiated as 
Director of Public Instruction for one year. On the 14th of August, 
1879, he wrote thus : — 

" In the Departmental Annual Report, 1877-78, I designated the Bas- 
sein Sgau Karen school the model school of the province, both as regards 
aims and attainments. In this its relative position it has not been dis- 
turbed, nor do I perceive much prospect of its being so. A record of the 
absolute position of the school, however, is desirable, and would have 
been provided by the provincial examinations, but for the circumstances 
of many pupils having held back, for reasons of their own, and of the 
pupils not being trained throughout the year with almost the sole aim 
of these examinations in view. In my tour of 1S79-S0 I am applying 
tests of a more incisive kind even than the provincial examinations, and 
of a character as uniform as theirs. The results obtained at all schools 
will be compared at the close of the year. The 'imponderables' will 
find no place in this comparison. And in this comparison, as far as my 
tour has extended, the Sgau Karen Normal School is as far ahead of the 
others which I have examined as it is ahead of them in those respects 
where sentiment and opinion have a more legitimate scope." 

On the 29th of the same month Mr. Ferrars wrote again : — 

"The results I obtained in the Rangoon Government High School 

were a little lower than at Mr. 's school, of which your school is 

about one class in advance. Your school is accordingly head and shoul- 
ders above all the schools of the province." 

Mr. Aitchison wrote again, Sept. 14, 1879 : — 

"I have again had the pleasure of a visit to the Sgau Karen Insti- 
tution, and am not surprised to rind it maintains its well-established 
reputation. I examined the ninth, fourth, and first classes. The per- 
formances in all were very, creditable, particularly those of the fourth 
class in geography and arithmetic, and the first class in algebra, arith- 
metic, and the elements of botany. The Institution fully merits the 
commendation bestowed on it by the Inspector of Schools. I am very 
glad to see the spacious hall completed, and in full use. The building 
has been almost entirely constructed by contributions from the Karens, 
and bears strong testimony to their appreciation of the Christian edu- 
cation afforded. Mr. Carpenter and bis staff of efficient and devoted 
teachers are doing a noble work in which I again wish them God-speed." 

Mr. P. Hordern, for many years the efficient Director of Public 
Instruction in British Burma, wrote, Nov. 29, 1879 : — 



418 APPENDIX. 

"It is nearly four years since my last visit to this school; and, com- 
paring its present condition with that in which I found it in 1876, mate- 
rial and satisfactory progress is evident in every direction. The first 
sign of the school's prosperity, is seen in the handsome buildings which 
kave been completed since my last visit. The existence of these build- 
ings, — among the finest school-buildings in the province, — which have 
been erected mainly by the munificence of the Karen villagers, is a most 
gratifying proof of the popular appreciation of the work which the school 
is doing. It is also abundantly evident that the facilities for school-work 
thus given have been, and are being, used to the best advantage. Mr. 
and Mrs. Carpenter are supported by a very efficient staff of teachers, 
both native and American; and the thoroughness of the work done is 
seen in every class. 

"I remember the ready response given by the managers a few years 
ago to the desire of the government, that the study of the Burmese lan- 
guage should be encouraged in Karen schools, and I have been much 
struck by the progress made in this direction. The familiarity with the 
language shown throughout the school is at once a novelty in Karen 
schools, and evidence both of hearty co-operation with the Education 
Department, and of careful and diligent teaching. The English lan- 
guage is no less carefully and successfully taught. 

"The first class showed a fair knowledge of algebra, and in arithmetic 
a high standard is reached. My examination was necessarily limited, 
but was enough to enable me fully to confirm the favorable judgment 
passed by inspecting-officers and other visitors, and to satisfy me that 
1he school has not stood still, but has steadily progressed during the past 
four years. 

"Tested by the newly prescribed standards, the school will, I antici- 
pate, hold a high place; and I should hope that a class or department 
may be formed to prepare pupils for the university entrance examina- 
tion. It is very desirable that the Karens should be tested by the same 
standards as their Burmese fellow-countrymen, and the way for such 
competition has been admirably prepared iirthis school." 

Mr. C. Bernard, the late Chief Commissioner, and long a member 
of the Supreme Government in Calcutta (a nephew of the late Lord 
Lawrence), visited the school Aug. 18, 1880, and sent, with the fol- 
lowing minute, a personal donation of two hundred rupees: — 

"I have been much surprised and delighted with what I have seen 
to-day at the Karen Institute, and at what I have heard regarding the 
sixty-four Christian Karen villages in the interior connected with 
tin' Rev. Mr. Carpenter's mission. I was allowed to examine and test 
the work of most of the classes, to see all the schoolrooms; dormitories, 



APPENDIX. 413 

dining-rooms, and other arrangements. On the whole, it is quite the 
most complete thing of its kind I have seen in British India. The pro- 
gress of the higher classes in English, geography, arithmetic, and in 
penmanship, was very satisfactory. Scriptural knowledge is, as it 
always ought to be at a missionary school, well taught and fairly under- 
stood. Saving the three American ladies who have given their lives and 
talents to Karen mission-work, all the teachers are Karens, and all are 
Christians. 

" It is pleasant to hear that some thirty or forty village schools in 
Christian Karen villages are dependencies of and offshoots from this 
Institution, and also to learn that the American missionaries have got 
the Karens to adopt and act upon the Western principle of self-help. 

"Mr. and Mrs. Carpenter and their fellow-workers, and the native 
pastors and elders of the Karen mission, are to be congratulated on the 
great and successful work they are doing. From the government point 
of view, their work and its results are full of promise for the future of 
the Karen race in British Burma. I have been glad to see that my prede 
cessors, and many public officers of different grades and departments, 
have given their hearty sympathy to the Bassein Karen Mission Insti- 
tute." 

The present Chief Commissioner, C H. Crosthwaite, Esq., visited 
• the Institute, July 4, 1883, and left on record the following : — 

" I have not seen any thing in India which gave me so hopeful a view 
of the possible future of the people as this school has done. I have 
heard much of what the American Baptist Mission have done in Burma, 
but I do not think any one who has not seen this establishment can 
appreciate the results of this mission. It has manifestly raised the 
Karens, and placed them on a distinctly higher stage of civilization. I 
consider the government of India is deeply indebted to the American 
Baptist Mission for their work. They have succeeded, where we utterly 
failed, in winning and civilizing this timid and formerly oppressed race. 
I have no doubt that their present success is only a beginning, and that 
we shall see these Christian Karens progressing, and forming a very valu- 
able element in the population of British Burma. I hope and believe 
they will gradually attract and influence their wilder brethren in the 
hills. 

"One of the best characteristics of the Institution, and that which 
promises best for its permanence, is that it is self-supporting. This 
shows the value the Karens place on it, and it is not likely thai it will 
meet with less support when every Karen village shall be full of men 
and women educated in it. 

" Of the singing I need say nothing. Every one has heard of Karen 



420 APPENDIX. 

singing, and we were delighted with it. I am very much obliged to Mr. 
Nichols for allowing us to hear it, and for his kindness in showing us all 
over the Institution. If I remain in Burma, I shall certainly visit the 
school again." 

Further quotations are needless ; but it should be added, that the 
above are a few only out of scores of favorable notices and reports of 
the Bassein Sgau Karen Institute. 



INDEX 



INDEX 



Abbott, Rev. E. L., vii, 8-15, 17-29, 31-85, 
87-102, 104, 106-113, 115-134, 136-170, 178, 
182, 187, 196-203, 205-208, 230, 241, 247, 
250, 251, 278, 286, 302, 315, 321, 324, 320, 
360, 362, 365, 375, 377, 390, 395, 399, 400. 

Abbott, Mrs., 9, 41, 54, 56, 63, 70, 75, 76, 79, 
93, 97-99, 124, 178-182. 

"Academies," 234, 235, 243, 253, 255, 257, 
269, 278, 2S1, 282. 

Aitcbison, Mr. C. U., 370, 416, 417. 

Akyab, 57, 95, 102. 

Anderson, Rev. Dr. Q. W., 108, 109. 

Anna, 44, 414. 

Arakan, 1, 34, 35, 37, 42, 46, 55, 220, 222, 
268. 

Baptismal scenes, 12, 17, 20, 21, 50, 51, 60, 
63, 64, 75, 76, 193. 

Bassein, 2, 6, 7, 33, 196, 198, 203, 231, 232, 
354, 360. 

Batson, Miss R. E., 368. 

Baumee, 36, 55, 61, 70, 72, 75, 79, 84, 91, 125, 
151. 

Beecher, Rev. J. S., 101, 107, 108, 112-115, 
119, 122, 132, 134, 137, 149-151, 156, 158, 
163, 164, 170-177, 182, 188, 191-197, 202, 
204, 216-224, 226-229, 232-238, 240-247, 249- 
253, 272, 283, 286-296, 300, 302, 303, 306, 
307, 309-311, 313, 315-322, 324, 326, 327, 
329, 343, 352, 354, 360, 365, 366, 369, 375. 

Beecher, Mrs. M. F., 159, 192, 194, 220, 217. 

Beecher, Mrs. H. L., 272, 291-293, 316-321, 
329. 

Benjamin, Rev. Mr. and Mrs., 247. 

Bennett, Rev. C, 309, 374. 

Bernard, Mr. C, 370, 418, 419. 

Bible-school, Bassein, 2S4, 311, 325, 326, 341, 
350, 399-402, 404. 



Binney, Rev. Dr. J. C, 94, 116, 118, 102, 

136, 140, 144, 148, 150, 182, 245, 262, 207, 

2S7, 302, 303, 308, 309, 354, 304. 
Binney, Mrs. J. P., 110-118, 138, 159. 
Bleh Po, 39, 48, 49, 65-68, 73, 74, 77, 79, 

155. 
Bogalo, 85, 172, 195. 
Boganau, M. D., 317, 319, 368. 
Brayton, Rev. D. L., 254, 313, 403. 
Bright, Secretary, 144, 159. 
British protection, 9, 28, 35, 45, 62, 216, 218. 
Brooks, Rev. Dr. Phillips, 231, 307. 
Brown, Rev. Dr. 1ST., 301, 338. 
" Buffalo, Broken-legged," 02, 163, 172, 176, 

194. 
Bunker, Rev. A., 314, 398, 399. 
Burma, British, 1, 209, 380, 382, 3S3. 

Carpenter, Rev. C. BT., 316, 342, 349, 351, 

353, 356, 357, 359, 362, 364, 365, 369, 371, 

374, 378, 400, 416-419. 
Carpenter, Mrs., 316, 342, 351, 356, 378, 416, 

418, 419. 
Cholera, 45, 55, 66, 68, 71, 75, 84, 87, 89, 309. 
Christlieb, Dr., 123, 161. 
Comstock, Rev. Mr. and Mrs., 3, 83, 84, 93, 

186. 
Conference, ministerial, 228, 236, 240, 282, 

330. 
Convention, B. B. M., 315, 331, 341, 356. 
Coompany, Moung, 309, 348. 
Crawley, Rev. A. R. R., 254, 310, 330. 
Cross, Rev. Dr. and Mrs., 314, 36S, 399. 
Crosthwaite, Mr. C. H., 419. 
Crucifixion, 27, 28, 221, 386. 

Dabbu, Rev., 198, 239, 278, 302, 329, 374, 
385, 401, 412. 

423 



424 



INDEX. 



Deaths, triumphant, 78, 79, 163, 221. 
Deeloo, Rev., 355, 374, 412. 
Do Poh, 10, 10. 
" Deputation," 245, 247-249. 
DeWolfe, Miss M., 343, 352. 
Douglass, Rev. J. L., 251, 253, 256, 261, 279, 
297-299, 301,310, 315,324,339-341, 359, 360. 

East India Company, 2, 1S7, 196, 209. 
Eden, Hon. Sir A., 370, 415. 
Edwards, Mr., 23-25. 
Edwin Moung, 176. 
Elwell, Rev. J. T., 360. 
Emigration to Arakan, 80-82, 84. 
English schools, 56, 244, 247, 249, 261, 290, 
293, 295, 306, 330, 355. 

Fines, 27, 29, 32, 48, 71, 203, 213. 

Foreign missions from Bassein, 229, 23S, 

253, 298, 300, 308, 315, 329, 369, 372, 403- 

405. 
Free Mission Society, 272, 294, 301, 311, 315, 

322, 324, 339, 340. 
Fytche, Gen. A., 190, 209, 221, 231, 232, 269. 

Goodell, Rev. S. T., 359, 360. 
Great Plains, 89, 92, 98, 193, 398. 
Gwa, 38, 47, 51, 60, 70, 192. 

Henthada, 111, 206, 285, 342. 

Higby, Miss S. J., 358, 359. 

Home Mission Society, 166-169, 177, 106, 

223, 229, 236, 238, 240, 255, 20S, 269, 282, 

207, 349, 3S1. 
Ilopkinson, Rev. IT. M., 357, 364, 367, 415. 
Hordern, Mr. P., 417, 418. 
Howard, Rev. B., 3, 7, S, 31, 41. 
Hton Byu, 21, 36, 38, 41, 43, 53, 110. 

Ingalls, Rev. Mr. and Mrs., 7, 102-105, 107, 

119, 141. 
Ingalls, Mrs. M. B., 310, 311. 
Institute, B. S. K. N. and I., 291-297, 306, 

366-379, 415-420. 
Irrawaddy, 10, 12, 42, 209. 

Jameson, Rev. M., 357, 360, 374, 398. 

Jayne's medicines, 99, 258. 

Judson, Rev. Dr. A., 101, 133, 134, 147, 361. 

Kakhyen mission, 299, 369, 372, 403. 
Kan Gyee, 23, 210, 211, 226. 



Karens, 8, 9, 26, 30, 32, 56, 86, 94, 270, 294, 

319, 337, 364, 380, 3S2, 392, 393, 419. 
Karens, benevolence of, 85, 8S, 102, 229, 

2.".7-200, 340, 341, 377-3S2, 411-414. 
Kaukau Pgah, 5, 278, 301, 373, 385, 412. 
Khyoungthah, 3, 5, 36, 02, 64, 172, 195. 
Kincaid, Rev. Dr. E., 32, 36, 41, 43, 55, 58, 

94, 99, 184-137, 238, 2S7, 299, 300, 314. 
Klau-meh, 221 (see Thah Gay). 
Klehpo, Rev., 202, 314, 398. 
Ko Bike, 1S0-1S2. 
Ko Dau, 11, 104. 
Kohsoo, 233, 243, 260, 269, 2S1, 299, 366, 367, 

412. 
Koteh, 372. 
Ko Thah-ay, 53, 147. 
Ko Thahbyu, 9, 36, 38, 45, 155, 278, 373, 

374. 
Kroodee, Rev., 308. 
Kwee Beh, Rev., 229, 267, 329, 403. 
Kwengyah, 252, 274, 328, 411. 
Kyau Too, 118, 228. 
Kyootah, 202, 210, 212, 215, 225, 257, 282, 

413. 
Kyootoo, 7, 13, 405, 412. 
Kyoukkeh, Rev., 253, 262, 263, 374, 398. 
Kyouk Khyoung-gyee, 5, 6, 19, 126, 129, 

211. 
Kyoung, 197, 199. 

Lahyo, 334, 335, 412. 

Location, college and seminary, 94, 144, 

1S2, 265-267, 287, 354, 362-365, 377. 
Lootoo, Rev., 262, 297, 314. 
Luther, Rev. R. M., 339. 

Magezziu, 47, 55, 60, 64, 75, 84, 87, 92. 

Manning, Miss M. C., 360, 368. 

Mason,